Why you should make a will this new year

In Features

Make writing a will your new year's resolution. 

With Covid restrictions keeping families apart last year, many of us are looking forward to Christmas more than usual.
 
Family gatherings often get us thinking about the future and what we can do to provide for those we love. There’s nothing like spending time with our children and grandchildren to put things into perspective!
 
 

Why make a will?

 
One of the best ways to protect your loved ones is to write a will.
 
Thinking about making a will doesn’t have to be morbid. In fact, it’s a thoughtful and caring thing to do to make things easier for your family and friends when you’re no longer there. And there’s no better time to write one than at the start of a new year.
 

How many people have a will?

 
A will is one of the most important documents you can make. But you might be surprised by how many people don’t have one.
 
A 2020 survey by Canada Life revealed that a staggering 59% of adults in the UK don’t have a will. And it’s not just young people who aren’t planning for the future. 32% of people over 75, and 39% of 65 – 74-year-olds haven’t even started to think about writing a will.
 
Interestingly though, the Covid pandemic may have emphasised the importance of writing a will among young people. 12% of 25–34-year-olds decided to write a will during lockdown, and 30% updated an existing one. But there’s still a long way to go.
 

What does a will contain?

 
Your will sets out in writing exactly what you want to happen to your property and possessions. The main things your will should cover are:
 
  • Who’s in charge of dealing with and administering your estate (known as your executor); and
  • Who your beneficiaries are, and what they will receive out of your property and possessions
 
 

Who should make a will?

 
There’s no set requirement for who should make a will, but it’s especially important if:
 
  • You have children and you want to appoint a guardian to look after them in case something happens to you
  • You are cohabiting with your partner, but you’re not married
  • You want to leave your property or possessions to stepchildren, charities or friends
 

What happens if I don’t make a will?

 
If you don’t make a will, your estate will be distributed under the laws of intestacy, a rigid set of rules which say that your assets will pass automatically to your closest blood relatives.
 
These people may not be who you had in mind. You may not want your elderly parents to inherit your house, or your sister to get your car. After all, every family is different! That’s why you should make a will if you have a clear idea of who you want to leave your assets to.
 
You don’t have to be old or unwell to write a will. In fact, the sooner you make one, the better.
 
Having a will in place gives you confidence that your wishes will be followed and makes life that little bit easier for your family in what can be an emotionally challenging time.
 
This new year, add ‘making a will’ to your resolutions and contact a legal professional for advice.
 
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Adam Rivers

Adam creates supportive, easy to read guides for The Law Superstore. He specialises in family law, helping people though divorce, child custody arrangements, and other relationship issues.

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