Having a Will is arguably one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Having a Will in place has many benefits and although you can write one yourself you have to be very careful to get it RIGHT! ONE MISTAKE could mean that it will not be accepted in the Courts.
Here are our top 10 reasons for making a Will and having it up to date!
1. You can decide how your estate will be distributed. A Will is a legally binding document that enables you to determine how you would like your estate to be dealt with upon your death. If you die without a Will, you will enter into what is known as intestate which mean the Courts will decide what happens to your estate and who will be entitled to a share of it and this can cause many family arguments. If you are not married but, have a long term partner with children for example, your partner may end up not receiving a share.
2. You can decide who will take care of your children. A will allows you to make an informed decision about who will take care of your young children. Not having a Will, will mean that the Courts will decide. It may not be a family member, this process may mean your children have to stay in care until a decision has been reached. Having a will allows you to appoint the person you want but, better yet, stops someone you do not want raising them.
3) You can avoid a long probate process. Estates must go through the probate process, even if you have a Will, although having one speeds up the process and informs the Court on how you would like your estate to be divided.
4) You can minimise estate taxes (IHT). Another reason to have a Will is because it allows you to minimise your estate taxes. The value of what you give away to family members or charity will reduce the value of your estate when it’s time to pay inheritance taxes. Correct planning could save your family thousands. (Your Advisor can also help you with other IHT planning reducing advice, that could be beneficial to you)
5) You can decide who will look after the affairs of your estate. Executors make sure all your affairs are in order, including paying the bills and notifying the banks and other business. Because executors play the biggest role in the administration of your estate, you want to appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy, and organised. Some like to use family members but, beware it is a hard time for them let alone having to deal with the estate, consider having a professional to deal with your affairs.
6) You can disinherit individuals who you do not want to benefit from part of your estate. Most people do not realise they can disinherit individuals out of their will. But if you do not have one, you have no choice!. Wills can specifically outline how you would like your estate distributed, (such as an ex-spouse, or other family members).
7) You can make gifts and donations. The ability to make gifts is a good reason to have a Will because it allows your legacy to live on and reflect your personal values and interests whilst at the same time reducing your estate, which in turn can provide more for your family as there will be less taxes to pay.
8) You can add Trusts alongside your Will. Trusts are not just for the wealthy, they can be used for so much more and everyone who has one can benefit. Quick example – if you have young children and you were to die, in the right situation they could stand to inherit your whole estate. Now imagine they are 10 years old, what are they going to do? with a trust you can appointment a Trustee to look after this money until your children reach a certain age, 21 or 25 for example. A Trust has at leasts 10 tops reasons for having one all on its own, so we have created an article (HERE) showing you these Top 10 Reasons for you to learn more.
9) You can change your mind if your life circumstances change. A good reason for having a Will is that you can change it at anytime while you are still alive. Life changes, births of a son, daughter or grandchild, death and divorce, all can create situations where changing your Will is a must.
10) Because tomorrow is not promised. Procrastination and the unwillingness to accept death as part of life are common reasons for not having a Will. Most of the time the realisation that Wills are necessary comes too late – such as when an unexpected death or disability occurs to a family member or close friends that did not have one in place. To avoid the added stress on your family during an already emotional time, speak to an Advisor who can guide you and help structure a Will that will make everything so much more simplier.
Be sure to check out some of our article for more Wills and Trust information.
DONT LEAVE TODAY WHAT YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO DO TOMORROW!
*There is new EU regulation, if your Will has not been updated you may find that it might not work in the county you are living in. For example, if you are from the UK and you now live in Poland or Spain, you may find that your assets will be dealt with by the Courts in the country you reside. This could end up being the right thing for you but, beware each country has different laws on who gets what. Get in touch and speak to an advisor to learn more today.