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Why make a will? Caroline Billings discusses in an article for Mancroft and More

30/05/2017

Author: Caroline Billings

Wills, Tax and Probate

Let's start with why not make a will? Some of the reasons that I hear most often are that it’s too expensive, that you do not have anything to leave or you are ‘too young’, that it is unlucky – like you are somehow tempting fate, and that you are happy with where your estate will go on intestacy – that is if you die without having a valid will, and those who know they should really make a will, but think ‘I’ll do it later’.

Affordable options

There are lots of ways to make a will – you can use a solicitor or will writer, or you can make a will yourself as long as you research how to do it properly. Some charities run regular campaigns for inexpensive will writing schemes, so there are plenty of affordable ways of making a will.

Appointing legal guardians

Even if you don't think that you have enough to leave, it's still important to make a will if you have children who are under 18, so that you can appoint someone to be their guardian, and to appoint executors to deal with your estate – even if this is just dealing with arranging your funeral or dealing with your debts.

An insurance policy

As for it being unlucky, I view a will a bit like having an insurance policy – we don't buy insurance because we expect an accident to happen, but if it does the insurance helps to protect you and your family. Making a will does the same thing – it makes things easier for your family, makes dealing with the banks more straightforward, and makes it clear exactly who you want to inherit your estate.

Don’t leave things to chance

Unlike leaving things to chance, a will can protect your estate (and your beneficiaries) if any of them are in receipt of benefits, if you are concerned about care fees, worried about how to balance the needs of your partner and children from a previous relationship, or if you own property with your partner but are not married.

Tick it off your to-do list

Don’t put making a will, or updating an old will off for another time. Make one now, and check it every five years or so to make sure that it still does what you want, and the next time you hear anyone making the same old excuses you can feel content knowing that you have already got something in place – and your family will thank you for it.

This article first appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of Mancroft and More magazine. Caroline Billings is a Partner in our Private Client Department.

Mancroft and More Magazine Summer 2017

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