According to a survey carried out by Foresters Friendly Society, 24% of Brits have never considered writing a will and 23% think their current financial position doesn’t warrant having one.
Another common misconception is that adults without children or dependents have no need of a will.
Let us take a closer look at the benefits of writing a will.
Who can write a will?You have three ways to draft a will: write it yourself (sometimes known as a DIY will), hire a professional will-writer, or use a solicitor to create a will.
Explore your options in our guide, 'Writing your will: Should you do it yourself, use a solicitor or a will-writing service?'
What if you die without creating a will?
If you pass away without a will, you have absolutely no say over the final resting place of your property and possessions. Typically, estates are handed on to a spouse or children, but if you have neither it is difficult to be certain where your assets will go.
While some people have no interest in material goods, often it is a good idea to outline how monetary gifts or specific heirlooms should be allocated. Many people even choose to donate a significant sum to charity.
It is easy to assume that your assets will be distributed fairly and that a will is merely a piece of unnecessary paperwork. However, if you do not take this precaution you run the risk of a valued family member or friend losing out – or being dragged into a dispute once you are no longer present to make a decision.
Always bear in mind that your will ensures clarity, fairness, and avoid arguments. You don't want benficiaries or those left out to contest a will after you're gone.
Learn more about this with our guide, 'What happens if I die without making a will?'
Leave a will for your children
Perhaps the most important reason to write a will is to ensure your children are adequately cared for should the worst happen.
In instances where a spouse or close relative is not available to take on the responsibility, it goes without saying that you would want to have the final say in choosing an individual or group of people to provide a caring, loving home in your absence.
Without a will, the process of getting proper long-term care for your children could be a lengthy and distressing process.
Plan your funeral the way you want it
Planning your own funeral isn’t the most cheerful process, but once you start thinking about it, you may have some strong opinions on how the event should be handled.
Your will is a document where you can outline everything from budget to type of funeral (cremation or burial; religious or secular), location to attendees, and even the choice of music or flowers.
Preparing a clear outline for the day can make the whole process much less stressful for the friends and relatives left with the responsibility of laying you to rest. It is always a terribly sad experience losing a loved one, so by having a plan will be a great help for them – especially as they know that’s how you would have wanted it.
Check for inheritance tax
The fact that inherited property and finances are taxable assets isn’t always at the forefront of people’s minds when they create a will. Nevertheless, there are some important tax matters to consider when allocating money to those you leave behind.
Current legislation permits a tax-free allowance to spouses or civil partners. But, according to government guidelines, your estate is taxable when over a certain threshold. Completing a will with the help of a solicitor can help you to make the most of the assets you leave.
Prepare for the future
Whatever your age, it is always worth preparing for the future – both for yourself and those you hold dear.
A solicitor can help you draw up a clear, comprehensive will and ensure that all legal obligations are met. Using a solicitor is particularly important if you have dependents or have any unusual circumstances.