5 Reasons You Need A Will

By Vicki Coleman

There’s a whole list of reasons that you might be putting off writing a will. Maybe you don’t want to think about your own mortality (who does?) or you don’t think you need one because you don’t have significant assets.

Some people may avoid creating a will because they believe it will be expensive or they may not understand the legal requirements for creating one.

In some cases, people may put off making a will because they’re concerned about the potential for disagreement and conflict.

However, any reasons for not making a will are no match for the reasons to get one drawn up.

Now, you probably already know the main reasons for writing a will, i.e. to ensure that your assets go to the people you want them to go to and avoid your estate being distributed in line with the laws of ‘intestacy’ (which are strict rules that don’t account for modern family structures).

But, have you considered the other, lesser-known reasons?

1. You can name your children’s guardian

When creating a will, it's important to consider naming legal guardians for any dependents under the age 18.

Appointing a guardian will avoid leaving this decision in the hands of the family courts, who may choose someone you wouldn't have wanted. Keep in mind that naming godparents does not have legal standing.

In addition to choosing a guardian for your children, you can also make financial arrangements to provide for their future.

Consider establishing a trust to give you control over when and how the money is used. Not all young people are bad with money management – but for most, making smart financial decisions takes a few years of adulthood!

2. Your partner will definitely be included

Unmarried partners have no automatic entitlement to anything from your estate, even if you’ve been together for years. Writing a will is the only way to ensure they will receive their fair share.

That includes the family home if it’s solely in your name and not a joint asset.

So, if you’re yet to put a ring on it – or have no intention to get married – make your partnership legally binding by naming your better half in the will.

3. You can head off family disputes

While you might be worried about inflaming unnecessary family tensions by putting into writing your wishes for your affairs, the reality is writing a will rarely leads to dispute.

Au contraire, it can make sure that there are no arguments among your survivors. In the absence of a clear will or instructions, dividing an estate may unfortunately result in disputes and conflicts among heirs.

Challenged wills have the potential to strain familial relationships and may also incur significant legal expenses in determining the allocation of assets.

A properly drafted will can prevent these disagreements and reduce the burden of decision-making for your loved ones during an already difficult time.

4. You can minimise the inheritance tax bill

Nobody wants to pay more tax than they have to. Writing a will can help with inheritance tax planning by allowing you to distribute your assets in a tax-efficient way.

By carefully planning how you distribute your assets in your will, you can ensure that you make the most of any exemptions and allowances and minimise the amount of tax that your beneficiaries will need to pay.

Anything left to your spouse or civil partner will be automatically exempt from inheritance tax. Leaving property to your children and grandchildren is also likely to generate a lower inheritance tax bill than leaving it to others.

However, inheritance tax laws can be quite complex, so it's recommended to seek professional advice from a tax lawyer or financial advisor who can help you navigate the rules and regulations.

5. You can pick someone suitable to settle your affairs

Choosing an executor for your will is an important decision, as this person will be responsible for ensuring that your wishes are carried out after your death. Generally, it is recommended that you choose someone who is organised, trustworthy and able to handle the responsibilities involved.

Most people choose a family member or close friend as their executor – but if nobody really fits the bill or is willing to take on the responsibility, you can select a professional executor. There are pros and cons to each option, so it's important to carefully consider your choices before making a decision.

Ultimately, the decision of who to choose as your executor will depend on your personal circumstances, preferences and goals for your estate. It's important to carefully consider your options and discuss your wishes with your chosen executor to ensure that your estate is managed in the way that you would want.

Ready to put your wishes into writing?

If the above reasons have convinced you to get the ball rolling on writing your will, your next decision is to decide whether to do it yourself or seek some professional help.

If you go down the DIY route, you need to make sure you don’t make any mistakes by putting in details that are only going to confuse matters.

If you don’t trust yourself – or, rather, you just want some peace of mind that you’re getting it right – get some professional eyes on it.

To help you write your will, we have teamed with Honey Legal, one of the UK’s most trusted legal brands. They are happy to guide you through the whole process and ensure you don’t make a mis-step when it comes to your will.

Learn more about the help they provide here.