Many people shy away from making a will as if the act itself is tempting fate. But there are several reasons why one needs to make a will, and the earlier the better. Whilst a will can always be adjusted as your circumstances change, putting if off until tomorrow may be too late, You need to make a will if you want to be in control of what happens to your estate after your death, particularly within the following areas.
The law of averages calculates that most parents live to see their children grow into adulthood, but average does not always work. There are thousands of young children left to deal with pain of losing a parent, or sometimes both. If those parents have not made a will the state decides the guardianship of those children, which can only add to their grief. Thus you need to make a will to ensure your children are looked after in the way and by whom you would wish them to be upon your demise.
2. Your spouse
A grieving spouse will often be too emotionally unstable to be able to sort out the deceased spouse’s affairs. If you have made a will and appointed an executor, being someone you can rely on and trust such as a close friend or solicitor, it is their job to make sure that your wishes are carried out. If you have left property or cash to your children, the executor will also ensure that this is dealt with properly, putting it in trust if that is your request. Similarly, if you have not made a will, your children may end up with a share of your estate that you wanted your spouse to enjoy during his or her lifetime, which can lead to complications in the family.
3. Chattels and property
If you die intestate, which means without leaving a will, the state will be left to decide how to distribute the majority of your assets. This is apart from those assets you might have held jointly with another, for example your partner, in which case that property transfers to the surviving joint owner. However, all other assets, including property and cash will be distributed according to state law. In such cases, if you are single and childless, the state will normally divide your estate up amongst remaining kin. In an intestate situation, any gifts you might have wanted to make to friends or organizations you have an interest in will basically be ignored. Therefore, to ensure those you wish to benefit do so, it is imperative that you make a will.
Taxation at the time of death can be complex and expensive. Two benefits of making a will from the tax point of view are a) It can ensure that the tax levels are minimized and b) The solicitor who plans your will may suggest ways in which you can mitigate the potential tax liability by taking action during your lifetime. For example, they can help create trusts that will limit death duties. Similarly, if you have business interests, a properly constructed will can ensure this is passed on in the way you would wish.
Despite the grief at the time of a relatives death or shortly afterward, we hear so many horror stories about how families have argued and fought over even the most trivial part of the deceased persons estate. Sometimes this can be over items that have little monetary value, such as jewelery or ornaments. Often this leads to family rifts that last for years. If the deceased person has made a will this could well be avoided, as the surviving relative will know the wishes of the deceased.
Making a will gives you peace of mind, and protects your family in the event of your death. The above shows some of the reasons why a will is important.