There’s no wrong time to start making your will. If you’re over 18 and want to make sure your money and assets go to the right people, there’s little stopping you writing a will. It’s a case of the sooner, the better.
The second-best time to make a will (or update an existing will
) is when your circumstances change. Consider writing a will when…
You’ve had a financial windfall
Most people have savings, and if that’s the case, you’ll likely want to set up arrangements for what happens to that money in the event of your passing. After all, you want to ensure your family, friends, or charities close to your heart are provided for.This fact becomes even more important if your financial status significantly changes – for example, inheritance, a major job promotion, or even a lottery win. Such a change can alter who your beneficiaries are (you might be in a position to give to more people, for example). It may also change how much you intend to give each of them.
You own a property
is typically the largest and most expensive asset people own. Whether you’ve inherited, bought, or moved to a new property, it’s best to think about what happens to it later down the line. This isn’t simply about who might profit from a future sale. It’s about ensuring peace of mind for your loved ones; in the event of you unexpectedly passing away, make sure your family aren’t left without a roof over their heads.
You got married or are in a long-term relationship
It’s not just changes to your finances or estate that make a will necessary. Relationship changes also signify a good time to write a will. If you’re planning on getting married (or you recently tied the knot), you’ll want to make sure your partner is named as a beneficiary
. After all, you’re sharing your life with this person, so why not everything else? A will should also be made if you and your spouse separate or begin divorce proceedings, as until the divorce is finalised, your former partner is entitled to inherit. It’s arguably even more important for those in a so-called ‘common law relationship’. As the law stands, unless you’re married, your partner has no legal claim to your assets, so it’s best to make provisions for them in your will.
You’re starting a family
Many wills benefit family members, so, if you’re starting a family, make sure your will provides for your spouse and your children should anything happen to you. Not doing so could have a serious impact on their living standards – and that’s no legacy to leave behind. Away from possessions and assets, making a will soon after having children means you can include a guardian clause. This lets you determine a legal guardian for children under 18, should both you and your spouse pass (and avoids leaving such traumatic decisions to the court).
You’re diagnosed with a serious illness
You may not like to think about it – in fact, it may be the last thing on your mind – but being diagnosed with a serious illness marks the time to write a will, if you haven’t already done so. Strike early; as the illness progresses, possessions and pecuniary issues will be the last thing on your mind. You and your loved ones shouldn’t have the added burden of worrying about the future, and a will is a way to offer reassurance, as well as ensure your wishes are carried out. Dying without making a will
can lead to complications and legal challenges your family could well do without.
You’re starting or already own a business
Much like coming into a considerable amount of money or land, starting a business calls for a will to be made. You’ve no doubt put in a huge amount of effort building up the business, and choosing the right person to take over means you can rest easy knowing it’s in safe hands. This is made a little easier if you’re the sole owner or shareholder, as it allows the greatest amount of control over what happens to the company’s assets after you’re gone. Making a will also means your final wishes can override certain clauses in any partnership or shareholder agreement, which might otherwise benefit other parties.
Write your will today
When is the right time to write a will? It’s important to make one as soon as you can – especially if you’ve experienced major life changes. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to draft an individual will
or arrange a joint will
, guaranteeing security and peace of mind for you and your family.