The importance of writing a will: preparing for the inevitable can prevent heartache and a financial burden on your loved ones
The number of people in the UK who have failed to write a will is increasing. According to recent research, 59% of adults in the UK have not written a will. The same study found that many of those who have yet to put pen to paper to secure the future of the loved ones they’ll leave behind claim they’re simply not wealthy enough to be concerned about their assets.
Of the people who have made a will, a large proportion don’t continually update this very important document, despite changes to finances, fluctuations in asset values, and significant life events.
Writing a will is vital to ensuring your final wishes are carried out, and with so many people failing to make and regularly review a will, individuals and those closest to them are being left in difficult positions.
We take a closer look at why writing a will and preparing for the inevitable is a fundamental step in the right direction, whether you’re 24, 34 or 54.
Prevent unnecessary disputes and hassle
Losing a loved one is a difficult time for everyone, and without a will in place, this period of grief and adjustment can be made even more problematic.
The absence of a will can often cause unnecessary disputes and hassle for family and friends. Those who do not make a will die ‘intestate’ meaning the property and assets that were to be left to certain people may not be awarded in the desired manner.
Dividing your estate without a will can be the cause of many family disputes. It can damage relationships beyond repair, which, at a time when loved ones need support the most, is particularly devastating.
Protect children, partners and property
The writing of a will doesn’t just dictate the future of financial assets. It delivers protection for children, partners, family residences and even pets.
For people with young children, writing a will is made even more vital. A will not only ensures dependents are provided for financially, it will be used to appoint legal guardians if children are aged under 18.
Unmarried partners will also be given protection. Without a will, unmarried partners are not legally entitled to a share of the estate, and this rule applies whatever the length of the relationship.
The family home is another important focal point for those wishing to prepare for the future with will writing. Again unmarried partners and stepchildren do not automatically have the right to reside in the family home that is in your name. Neither will they inherit a share of the property without a will in place.
Minimise your inheritance tax liability
Proper preparation can help to minimise the inheritance tax (IHT) that will have to be paid via the estate upon death.
Inheritance tax rates, thresholds and liabilities differ depending on the value of your assets and who the assets are left to. Those in a marriage or civil partnership can pass assets to their spouse or partner tax-free using both their inheritance tax allowances providing they have not already been used.
Manage complex estates with ease
Writing a will is particularly pertinent for business owners. A will is used to specify who will settle your affairs, which means you’ll be able to appoint an executor (or several executors) who is the right person for the job.
For those with complex estates, appointing a professional executor may offer a better solution than placing the burden onto the shoulders of a trusted family member or friend.
Want to prepare a will and ensure that your estate is in order? Find out more about how Winn Solicitors can help here.