Many people don’t have a will and don’t even think about writing a will until something happens in their life that prompts them to do so. For lots of people the trigger is when you become a parent and you suddenly realise the weight of responsibility that comes with being a parent. For others, it’s the death of a friend or relative that makes them think about drawing up their own will.
If you die without having made a will, you are said to have died intestate and the Intestacy Rules are used to decide who will inherit your estate and your wishes will not be taken into account. By taking the decision to make a will you can decide for yourself who inherits your estate and how it is divided up.
People are often put off the idea of drawing up a will as they worry it will be complicated. There’s a very useful article with FAQs about wills on the Blaser Mills website which make the whole process a lot easier to understand.
There are some aspects to drawing up a will that people often are unsure about. These include:
You can ensure that your children are provided for by stating your wishes in a will. Under the Intestacy rules, children are obliged to take their inheritance at the age of 18, which many parents would consider as too young an age. By drawing up a will, you can specify at what age you would like your children to inherit. Usually the age range is between 18 and 25 and their inheritance can be held in trust until the specified age is reached. You can also use a will to decide who will be guardians for your children should you die before they reach the age of 18.
Choosing an executor
When you draw up a will, you can designate who you would like to be the executor(s). An executor assumes responsibility for dealing with your property, money and other assets after your death and making sure that the terms of your will are adhered to. Usually people choose a trusted friend or relative, or their solicitor. The executor can also be one of the beneficiaries of the will, so often people name their spouse as their executor. If you have young children, it is often advisable to appoint two or more executors to act together.
Renewing a will
Once you have had a will made, it is a good idea to review the contents of the will every five or ten years. If there are any significant changes in your life, such as the birth of another child, the death of a beneficiary or a divorce or separation, this will often mean there is a need to amend the will.
The simplest way to draw up a will is to go through a solicitor. You should speak to a few different solicitors to find out what price they will charge and whether they will store a copy of the will for you. Although it’s possible to draw up your own will, it’s often safer and easier to pay for the service via a solicitor, to ensure that your will is drawn up without any mistakes, which could cause problems after your death.
There’s a feeling of reassurance when you’ve had a will made, that should the worst happen, the people you care about most will be taken care of and that your wishes will be carried out regarding the division of your estate.