Why Making a Will Should be Your New Year's Resolution
Melinda Rice discusses why making a will should be on your list of resolutions for 2018
Just to put things into perspective……….
An average person works 40 hours per week between the ages of 20-65 and usually takes four weeks off for annual leave per year. In that time, the average person has worked a total of 86,400 hours in their lifetime. We spend our lives working to provide for ourselves and our loved ones so why not ensure that your loved ones are provided for when you are no longer here?
Here is a list of some reasons why you should make a Will (there are more!):
- Only 3 in 10 people in the UK have a Will. Without a Will, you cannot choose who inherits your estate and assets. If you die without a Will – called dying intestate – the intestacy rules determine who inherits what, which means your loved ones could miss out and a large chunk of your estate could go to the taxman. Whether you are single, cohabiting, married or divorced, you need a Will to ensure that your assets will be distributed in accordance with your wishes.
- Choose who collects and distributes your estate. When you make a Will you are required to appoint Executors. Executors are persons whom you appoint to carry out your wishes and administer your Estate. They should be trustworthy people who have the ability to carry out your wishes. If you die without one, administrators are appointed by the courts without your input. Executors can be family members, friends or a professional (i.e. a Solicitor)
- Ensure your children are looked after by someone you trust. If you are the last living parent and you die leaving a child under age 18, a guardian will be appointed by the court if you haven’t made a Will or haven’t said who this should be in your Will. Appointing a guardian will ensure that your wishes are followed when it comes to your children.
- Divorce or remarriage. Generally divorce treats a former spouse as if he or she had predeceased you so that no gift will pass to them. If you have made a Will and then marry or remarry, the Will may be cancelled and the rules of intestacy would apply which means your loved ones could miss out on benefitting from your estate, particularly if you remarry and have children from a previous marriage or relationship. However, a valid Will can be made taking into account a planned marriage or remarriage.
- Care home fee protection? There is no perfect solution to care home fees but protecting half of your home is better than losing it all! Couples who want their estate to pass onto their children can do so by setting up a trust to avoid their assets from being swallowed up by care home fees.
- Without a Will, your funeral wishes might remain unknown. Organising a funeral to meet the wishes of a loved one can be stressful and upsetting. Fortunately, you can include details about your funeral wishes in your Will to try and alleviate some of the worries on your loved ones. For example, you can include whether you wish to be buried/cremated; whether you would like flowers at your service or you would prefer donations be made to a good cause; the music, clothing, and every other aspect of your funeral.
- Make provisions for your family pets. If you are an animal lover then it is a good idea to make provisions in your Will to say who would look after your pets when you die. You may wish a family relative or friend to care for them or alternatively you could leave them to a charitable organisation and request that they find a new home for your pet.
Use a Professional To Draft Your Will!
Whilst Will drafting companies and DIY kits are available, the process is full of pitfalls, and errors are easy to make which could result in some or all of your Will being invalid. The intention of your Will may be very simple but the legal formalities and language required are complicated and must be strictly followed. Many words and terms have specific meanings in law, which are different from their everyday use. You should choose who draws up your Will wisely and seek professional legal advice from a qualified and regulated professional covered by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Already Have a Will?
We advise our clients to review and/or update their Wills every couple of years to ensure that they are up to date with their current wishes. Changes can occur because of a number of reasons such as divorce, children, grandchildren, family disputes, etc. If you decide that you would like to amend your Will please get in touch.
Why Use Talbots?
Experience: We have lawyers who specialise in Wills and Probate. They do not deal with other areas of law, so you know you will receive expert advice on your Will and also Powers of Attorney, long term care fees, advising the elderly and Court of Protection matters.
Simple: We will not make your will more complicated than it has to be and we will ensure that you are given a clear written explanation in plain English. We will not let you sign your Will unless we are sure that you understand it fully.
Accredited: We are one of a relatively small number of firms to have been awarded the Law Society Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme Accreditation. We follow the WIQS client charter and so you know you are in safe hands and several of our lawyers are members of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners.
Speed: We aim to prepare your will within 7 to 14 days from meeting with you and, sometimes, in exceptional circumstances, within 24 hours.
Available: Our offices are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm and Saturday mornings, so we can fit in with your busy schedules and also arrange to meet you at your home or place of business.
Friendly: We take a genuine interest in each individual client's personal situation. We hope you will be a Talbots client for life.
Free Storage: Unlike many other providers of Wills we store your Wills and other documents securely, free of charge.
Peace of Mind: Included in the price of your will is registration with the National Will Register 'Certainty". This reduces the risk of your family not knowing where to find your will after your death; for example, if you have moved out of the area and failed to advise anyone of the whereabouts of your will.