According to findings from the IRN’s biennial UK Wills & Probate Consumer Research Report, just 35% of adults surveyed have got round to making a Will. When asked why they have not yet written one, ‘I haven’t got round to it’ was cited as the most common answer.
Sadly, this is not surprising as there are many reasons why people do not ‘get round’ to making a Will, including:
- Procrastination: Many people believe they have plenty of time to make a Will, and so keep pushing it to the back of their mind.
- Avoiding unpleasant thoughts: Thinking about one’s own mortality can be uncomfortable and make people avoid the conversation altogether.
- Lack of knowledge: Some people may not even understand the importance of having a Will or where to start in creating one.
- Cost: The cost of creating a Will can be a barrier, especially if people have competing living expenses.
- Complexity: The process of making a Will can be seen as complex but it’s actually straightforward if you seek the right legal advice (more on this in just a moment).
- Unawareness: Some people may not be aware that they need a Will, especially if they have few assets.
Regardless of the reason, not making the time to have a Will written can have unintended consequences.
Why is it important to make a Will?
A Will is a legal document that outlines how a person’s assets and property should be distributed after their death. Making a Will allows you to have control over what happens to your possessions and to ensure that your wishes are honoured after your death. It also helps to avoid disputes among family members and provides clarity to the probate process, making it easier for loved ones to settle your estate.
There are several reasons why it makes sense to make a Will, including:
- Control over asset distribution: A Will allows you to legally outline how your assets and property will be distributed after your death, ensuring that your wishes are followed.
- Avoid probate disputes: A Will can help avoid disputes among family members and other beneficiaries during the probate process.
- Clarify your wishes: A Will provides clarity about your wishes, including who should receive your assets and property, and who should be responsible for settling your estate.
- Minimise the tax burden: Making a Will can help minimise the tax burden on your estate by ensuring that your assets are distributed in the most tax-efficient manner.
- Protect your loved ones: A Will can ensure that your children are taken care of and that your spouse or partner is provided for.
- Appoint a guardian: A Will allows you to appoint a guardian for your children in the event of your death.
- Peace of mind: This is one of the biggest benefits of all. Just knowing that your wishes will be honoured and that your loved ones will be taken care of can bring peace of mind.
The risks of dying without a Will
If you die without a Will in the UK, you die in “intestate”. As a result:
- The distribution of your estate will be determined by the laws of intestacy, which outline who the beneficiaries will be based on your family relationship.
- There will be no appointed executor to manager the distribution of your estate.
- The distribution of your estate will need to go through probate, which can be lengthy and costly.
- Your estate may go to unintended beneficiaries or may not be distributed in the way that you would like.
- Your family will likely find the process more difficult.
You should always have a Will written if you want to have control over what happens to your estate when you die.
There are certain circumstances when we would absolutely recommend that a person has a Will written.
Unmarried partners and partners who have not registered a Civil partnership cannot inherit from one another without a Will. So, if one partner dies, it can create serious financial problems for their surviving partner.
You should also amend an existing Will or make a new Will when your circumstances change in such a way that they alter how you’d want your estate to be distributed. There are lots of different examples we could give, but one of the most common is where two people have separated and are no longer living together but have not updated their Wills. Putting off making a new Will could leave an ex-partner as a beneficiary. It’s also worth noting that marrying or entering into a registered civil partnership automatically makes any previous Will invalid.
Another very important benefit of making a Will, of course, is that it may be possible to reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable.
How easy is it to make a Will?
Each person’s circumstances and wishes are different, but making a Will is no way near as complicated as what most people think, especially if you seek professional legal advice.
Our specialist Wills solicitors make the process effortlessly straightforward by:
- Providing comprehensive estate planning advice and helping you make informed decisions about how to distribute your assets and property.
- Giving you expert legal advice to ensure that your Will meets all legal requirements and is properly executed
- Guiding you through more complex estate planning situations, such as trusts, tax planning, and other requirements.
- Reducing the risk of disputes and challenges to your Will by ensuring that all your wishes are clearly expressed and that your assets are distributed in accordance with the law.
- Giving you peace of mind that your Will has been properly executed, documented and stored.
Book your free Will making consultation
You do not need to be sure of what you would like to do with your estate before you start the Will planning process. A big part of our Wills service is helping you think ahead and consider your options, which is why we offer a no-obligation Wills consultation. It’s all part of our friendly, professional service.
Before your free Wills service consultation with us, we’ll simply ask you to fill in a form that prompts you to start thinking about:
- What assets you have and how you own them
- Who you would like to leave your assets to, and
- If you have any dependents
This is a really helpful part of the Will writing process as it gives us a good understanding of your circumstance and wishes.
If you’re wondering about our Will writing fees, we have deliberately kept these affordable. Our Will writing service starts from as little as £300 (including VAT) for a standard single Will and £500 (including VAT) for joint Wills, and we will always be upfront about the likely costs at your free consultation.