By Rachel Lankester, Mutton Club Editor
Even though most people know they need a will, over 50% of us don’t have one. It’s just one of those things we really hate sorting out. But guess what? If we don’t have a will, the government gets to decide who receives whatever we have left when we die and how any dependents are cared for. So making a will makes sense!
A Macmillan Cancer Support survey of 2000 UK adults found that:
- 59% had not written a will
- More than a million people in the UK have had family arguments after a relative died without making a will
- Nearly one in five of these feuds led to a family break up with relatives no longer talk to one another
Just think what a mess you could leave behind by not having a will!
Making a will doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive and there are plenty of online resources that can help you complete the process quickly and easily. If your situation and assets are somewhat complicated, including second marriages, multiple properties and step children, for example, you may need to consult a lawyer. But if your situation is relatively simple, many online providers will be able to do the job.
Why do you need one?
So why should you and your partner make wills?
- You get to choose who inherits your possessions, money and property rather than you dying intestate and the government making all the decisions
- You can reduce the amount of inheritance tax you will have to pay, thereby leaving more for your loved ones rather than the tax man
- If you have dependents, you can set out how you want them to be cared for in the event of your death
- You can plan with your partner how the surviving partner will be provided for when one of you dies
- You reduce the stress for grieving family members who have to decide what to do with your estate when your wishes have not been written down
- Family will be able to access money for your funeral rather than paying for it themselves – and you can set out what kind of funeral you want
- If you’re married but separated and die without a will, your spouse could get everything regardless of your wishes!
What makes up your estate?
According to Age UK, you should be clear on what you want to happen to your entire estate. That will typically include:
- your home and any other properties you own
- savings in bank and building society accounts
- insurance, such as life assurance or an endowment policy
- pension funds that include a lump sum payment on death
- National Savings, such as premium bonds
- investments such as stocks and shares or investment trusts
- motor vehicles
- jewellery, antiques and other personal belongings
- furniture and household contents
And once you’ve provided for family and friends you might also want to leave a legacy to your favourite charity.
Making it legal
For your will to be legally valid, you must:
- be 18 or over
- make it voluntarily
- be of sound mind
- make it in writing
- sign it in the presence of 2 witnesses who are both over 18
- have it signed by your 2 witnesses, in your presence
So don’t hang about! So what are you waiting for?
Last Updated on February 1, 2023 by Editorial Staff