10 Reasons to Make A Will

Published / Last Updated on 01/02/2023

Last week, HMRC confirmed inheritance tax (IHT) receipts April 2022 to December 2022 of £5.3bn meaning a forecasted record IHT take of around £8bn this year and in the years to come.  This week we have seen news that this year nearly £5.5 trillion worth of UK estates will be dealt under intestacy laws i.e., death without a will. 

Sadly, this week we attended a close friend’s funeral and the above combined with our friend’s funeral has prompted us to publish 3 videos this week offering 10 reasons to have life insurance, wills, and lasting powers of attorney.

Watch: 10 Reasons for Life Ins  10 Reasons for LPAs

1.  You Decide Who Benefits

By making a will you decide who with be the beneficiaries of your estate.  This makes it much easier for people to know who should inherit what and it will stop family, friends, and other interested parties the difficulty of deciding ‘who gets what?’ this avoiding any disputes on your assets or in some cases legal action.  If are not legally married or civil partnership then your common law, 

If you do not have a will, it will be the law that decides who benefits.  In addition, if you have not made a Will and have no heirs, the crown will inherit your wealth. 

2.  You Choose Your Executors

You decide in the will who will be the executors that administer your estate and enforce the will i.e., family, friends, or professionals.  Being an executor is not easy, some estates can take months and even years to sort out with many hours of work and contacting all debtors and creditors, arranging funerals, paying off debts and any inheritance bill as well as completing numerous tasks such as a final income tax self assessment return, cancelling passports, driving licences, medical records and more.  If you do not make a will, it may go to court to decide who will administer your estate that may then incur further costs.

3.  Children and Pets

In a will you can name your preferred people to act as guardians for your children.  Usually, if there is another parent around, they will automatically be the guardian but what if both parents die at the same time?  What if you are a single parent?  What if there are only elderly grandparents who are not able to care for your children?  What if there are no close family members?  If there is no obvious choice as to who should look after your children, then your children may become a ward of the court and Social Services will take over the welfare of your children.  Do you really want to put your children through this given they are already going through the trauma of losing a parent or both?  As a responsible parent you should always have a will naming guardians if you have children.  What about your pets?  Would you really want your furry friend to be ‘put down’ or placed in an animal rescue centre?

4.  Intestacy – Death Without a Will

If you die without a will, this is known as intestacy.  This may mean any wealth in your name does not go to who would like it too.  Intestacy laws in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland do very but, by way of an example, if you died intestate in England, then your legally married spouse or civil parent will only inherit the 1st £270,00 with the balance, 50% to you and 50% to your children.  You married/civil partner may not inherit all your wealth and an unmarried partner may inherit nothing at all without a will.

5.  Reduce Inheritance Tax and Protect Wealth From Care Fees

Save inheritance tax:  A will may allow you to minimise inheritance tax.  If you make donations to other family members, political parties or a charity to reduce the value of your estate when it’s time to pay inheritance tax.  If you leave at least 10% of your estate to charity, you may qualify to pay Inheritance Tax at a reduced rate of 36% rather than 40% on the balance. 

Protect from care fees means test:  If you own property in joint names with your partner, this is usually with the title registered as ‘joint tenants’.  ‘Joint tenancy’ means you jointly own the whole of the property.  If you die, your partner already owns the whole of the property and vice versa.  You can sever joint tenants to become tenants in common.  Imagine, instead of you both owning the whole of the property, you draw a red line down the middle of the property; you own half, and your partner owns half.  This is done by completing a simple Land Registry Form A Restriction, both of you confirming you wish to sever joint tenancy.  Now, by making a will and including a life interest trust, you can leave your half of the property e.g., to children in trust.  The life interest allows your surviving partner to still live in the whole of the property rent free.  However, the surviving partner now only owns half of the property meaning that if they ever need social or residential care in later life, only half of the value of the property can be considered for the care fees means test.  The other half is in trust and protected for your children or other beneficiaries.

6.  It’s Cheap and Easy

We can take your will instructions i.e., all your wishes for you, your wealth and your funeral on death in around 10 minutes.  We will then draft your will and send you a draft copy within a few hours.  Fees for a Will start from as low as £316 for a couple i.e., £153 each.

7.  Avoid Legal Disputes

If you have made a will, as mentioned above, it can avoid issues with who gets what and any disputes, it may also prevent family ‘fall outs’ and even legal disputes.  If you make a will, you can also exclude people from your will and include details as to why they have been excluded.  This may prevent a costly legal dispute if someone believes they should be entitled to some or all your estate, but you may prevent this by detailing what you want for your estate.

8.  Socially Responsible

By making a will, you can choose to make donations and charitable gifts for the benefit of society or the planet and even for your name to ‘live on’ as well highlighting your conscience, values and interests.  As a bonus, it may even reduce your inheritance tax rate to 36% as mentioned above.

9.  Not Cast in Stone

Whilst you are alive, you can change, amend, or even cancel and simply tear up your will at any time.  Usually, most people want to make small changes with a simple.

10.  Accidents

Accidents do happen.  None of us can predict the future as it is not certain.  If somethng were to happen and you pass away prematurely and unexpectedly, you need a will to ensure your wishes are known and carried out on death.  Making a will makes it easier for loved ones and they will know your wishes as well as the additional bonus of making it easier to deal with probate, land registry and tax bodies.

Talk to us about making a will as well as estate planning and trusts.

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