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Not written a Will yet? You won’t live to regret it - but your loved-ones might

Aug 1, 2018

Writing a Will.  Is there really any point?  Seriously - the prospect doesn’t appeal.  Slumped for a couple of hours in the solicitor’s office, pretending to show interest, as a clock-watching legal-eagle interminably drones on about Beneficiaries, Self-proving Affidavits, Codicils, Intestacy, Testamentary Trusts and ..........

Writing a Will.  Is there really any point?  Seriously - the prospect doesn’t appeal.  Slumped for a couple of hours in the solicitor’s office, pretending to show interest, as a clock-watching legal-eagle interminably drones on about Beneficiaries, Self-proving Affidavits, Codicils, Intestacy, Testamentary Trusts and Holographic Wills.  Hold on.  What was that last one?  Holographic Wills?  What’s that about?  Inheritance law meets Star Wars?  Don’t worry - we’ll deal with it at the end.

Surely there’s little benefit in spending all that time and money on having a proper Will prepared.  The kids will be fine.  They all get on pretty well (most of the time) and everything will be split three ways - and Bob’s your uncle.  Or is he?  You might want to think again.  Is inheritance really as simple as that?  If this is what you think, I suppose you might be reassured to learn that you’re not alone.  How about a few stats?

-        3 in 5 adults have no Will

-        1 in 3 adults haven’t even thought about writing a Will

-        1 in 4 of the over-55s haven’t written one

-        Co-habiting couples?  3 in 4 don’t have a Will

-        Single adults?  Fewer than half have written a Will.

-        Separated or divorced adults - 1 in 5 haven’t written a Will

-        Adults with children - 50% haven’t written a Will but intend to

-        Parents with children under the age of 18 - 3 in 5 haven’t chosen guardians for their children in the event of their death.

Ok - a lot of stats there.  So where do you sit?  How much do you think about the financial well-being of your loved ones …  (and let’s not pussy-foot around here with such euphemisms as ‘if anything should happen to you’) … when you die?

They might miss you - but will they thank you?

What happens if you don’t make a Will?  Your property will be shared out according to the rules of intestacy.  This means only your close family will inherit your estate.  Maybe you’re happy with that prospect.  But it could go totally against what you’d prefer.  It could also result in them having to unnecessarily fork out a fortune in inheritance tax.  When you’re gone, they might miss you - but they won’t thank you.

It starts with a conversation

So, what should you do?  Well - talking isn’t a bad start.  As you plan your Will, it’s a good time to discuss your thoughts with your family.  Some might not feel comfortable with that kind of conversation, but others may find it useful.  They’ll appreciate that you’re working to protect your family.  It can help with their own financial planning.  With proper advice, between you, you might discover that you can help your loved-ones financially before you die and avoid potential Inheritance Tax.

It’s not about the money, money, money …

Maybe you think there’s no point in drawing up a Will because you don’t have much money.  But don’t forget your property and your belongings - your home, your possessions, jewellery, furniture, cars, even your pets.  However well your family might seem to get along, hidden jealousies and rivalries may be hiding just beneath the surface.  Your possessions could be subject to all kinds of unsightly wrangling.  Having your wishes properly set out in writing can avoid so much post-mortal unpleasantness.

Marriage makes a difference

Marriage is a key factor when thinking about a Will.  Did you know?  Once you marry, any Will that you have in place at the time is automatically revoked.  You need to re-draft it.  If you have children from a previous marriage, Will renewal is vital.  Inaction might result in your entire estate going to your new spouse, automatically omitting everyone else.

Even if you’re planning a separation or divorce, you should review your Will.  If you die before the divorce is complete, you could find that everything reverts to your current spouse.

All this, and so much more to think about.  More than you may be realised.  But whatever your stance on the importance of writing a Will, do yourself just one favour.  Talk to an expert.  You don’t have to spend time and money on visiting a solicitor.  We’re experts in Will writing.  Call us on 01234 713021 or drop me an email.  I’d love the chance to talk through the basics with you.

Oh … and those Holographic Wills that we touched on right at the start?  They’re nothing more exciting than … Wills written by hand!

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