Why you should write a will today

Home insurance - writing a will

No one ever gets out of bed in the morning, draws back the curtains and decides that, as the sun is shining and the birds are singing, it’s a great day to draw up a will. Most of us would rather not dwell on the fact of our inevitable death, but the truth is that failing to make a will can cause extra upset and stress for loved ones when the time comes.

So, brace yourself to accept the idea that you won’t be around forever and then consider these top five reasons why you should make a will.

Home insurance - writing a will

Top 5 reasons to write a will

1. Control what happens to your assets

Writing a will means you can ensure your property goes to the people you choose – or stays out of the hands of those you don’t. Even if you want to leave everything to a donkey charity to spite your siblings, you will need an official document to confirm this. Dying intestate (without a valid will) can also result in family feuds as grieving relatives squabble over who gets what – this is best avoided. 

2. Have a say in who cares for your children

If you have children under the age of 18, you can appoint a guardian for them in your will. It is best to have a conversation with the chosen person about this beforehand. Again, expressing your wishes could prevent uncertainty and family arguments after your death. Taking out life insurance is also a great way to provide for your children and other dependents.

3. Reflect the real nature of your romantic relationships 

The law does not recognise the complexity of modern relationships: you’re either married or you are not. If, for example, you separated from a spouse thirty years ago and have been living with a new partner ever since, the new partner would have to bring a complex legal claim to get anything from your estate.

4. Give the taxman the heave-ho

Unless you are particularly eager to donate to the taxman, you probably want to minimise the tax payable on your estate. The solicitor who assists with your will can advise on the most tax-efficient way to arrange your affairs. For example, you might want to avoid tax by establishing a trust fund to pay for your grandchildren’s education. 

5. State how your personal effects should be divided

If you would want particular belongings to go to chosen people after your death, you can specify this in your will. For example, you might want a granddaughter to inherit your mother’s wedding ring, or a treasured clock to go to a family member who admires it. 

There’s no time like the present for making a will. Once you have it in place, you will have an extra level of reassurance that your loved ones will be provided for if you pass away. To make a will, simply visit a solicitor to discuss your personal circumstances and wishes. The solicitor will draw up a document to be signed by you and some witnesses. 

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Published: 9th March 2016 (RB)