Do I really need a will?
We’ve heard all of this before. We risk nightmare scenarios after we die when we don’t have a will, from the wrong people getting their hands on our hard-earned money to our kids leaving nothing behind. At least that’s what experts warn us.
But am I really risking my family’s future because I don’t have one? Or is these panic just another way of getting us to pay for services we may not need, especially if we don’t own a home?
Having a will allows you to specify exactly what happens after you die, where your house should go, what happens at your funeral, and who will become the legal guardian for your children or pets.
But 49 percent of us don’t have one, according to research by the charity will-writing program Will Aid, and it’s pretty low on the list of life administrators for most of us.
In fact, until recently it had been one of the things I had avoided. I don’t own a house yet, so I always dismissed it as a thing when I got on the property ladder.
I’m married so my husband would inherit everything I own and he would take care of our child and two cats.
So what’s the point of writing a will? Quite a number of reasons, actually, that I hadn’t given much thought to.
If he died at the same time, what happens next? Would our fortune go directly to our daughter and who would arrange that? More importantly, who would become their guardians and would our cats be thrown on the street?
A third of parents have not named a legal guardian for their children, according to Will Aid.
If you don’t have a will, you have no say in these matters. While it is easy to assume that the person you want to inherit and care for your loved one would do so, there is no guarantee that it will happen.
In the case of children, for example, a court actually decides on the legal guardians if there is no will.
It also saves the bereaved a whole admin headache. When someone dies, not only is it extremely annoying and emotional, but there is usually a lot of paperwork to go through. Having a will is one way to save your family from additional stress during this time.
When you write a will, you can not only indicate who will inherit your fortune, but also information about the whereabouts of your money, a specific person and your wishes for your funeral.
A will can also be an instrument for inheritance tax, as no taxes are due on the money and property inherited from the spouse.
It is an especially important document if you are not married or in a civil partnership. In the case of people who live together without one of these official documents, the partners have no legal claim to assets. In the worst case, this could mean moving out of a shared home and losing the shared savings at an already agonizing point in time.
You can either see a lawyer or use an online will-writing service. Costs are generally cheaper for online businesses, but they are largely unregulated. In the case of a solicitor, for example, they are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). You can complain directly if you have a problem or escalate the problem to the legal ombudsman.
Most online will-writing services do not have this level of protection. So if you choose one of these services, choose one that is a member of an official organization like that. is Society of Wills-Scribers (SWW) or the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.
For a simple will, an online company should be able to provide everything it needs at a reasonable cost. However, if you have a more complicated situation such as B. Children from different partners or assets in other countries, it may be worthwhile to see a lawyer.
Wills also need to be updated if life events such as marriages, divorces, or if your financial situation changes.
In November, the Will Aid charity takes place, which supports the work of nine UK organizations. Throughout the month, attending attorneys write wills for the people in exchange for a voluntary donation to the campaign that is passed on to the charities.
It’s a chance to get a will for a discounted price as the campaign is asking for a donation of £ 100 for a single will and £ 180 for a mirror will for a couple.
Lorraine Robinson, Head of Legal at Farewill, said, “Even if you don’t own property and think you won’t inherit anything if you don’t have a will, inheritance law will determine how your property will be distributed and it could be left to the courts to decide, to decide who is responsible for looking after your children.
“Unmarried couples inherit nothing if their partner dies in the UK. It’s also a way to pass sentimental items or messages on to those closest to you and remember things that are important to you, as the rules of intestacy don’t leave anything to charities.
“Having a will that states what should happen after your death and how you would like to be celebrated at your funeral can save your loved ones a lot of uncertainty and stress even in a very difficult time.”