While it may seem like something you don’t need to do for a long time yet, there are multiple reasons why you should consider drawing up a will now.
For example, if you have children, a will can be used to clearly state who your child(ren)’s legal guardians would be and so, who you would want to take care of them in the event anything were to happen to you.
Similarly, you can also specify how those guardians bring up your child(ren) too – whether they go to religious schools for their education, whether the child(ren)’s grandparents have access rights and the like.
In addition, you can also use your will to specify what your wishes are for your funeral. This does not simply have to be whether you are buried or cremated. It can also include any songs you may want to be played during the ceremony, where you like the ceremony to be held and what you would like to happen to your ashes if you do choose to be cremated. Some people also use their will to specify that they would like their bodies to be donated to a medical research facility, such as the UK Biobank, too, or specify that they wish their organs to be donated too. On this, we would say that you should speak to your friends and family about your wishes too though.
Furthermore, by drawing up a will, you can also state clearly who you want to get what aspects of your estate. To be clear, a person’s ‘estate’ does not refer solely to any property they own, such as a house or a flat, but also all of their possessions and any money, including the contents of ISAs, saving bonds and any investments.
Therefore, by drawing up a will, you can leave your property to your direct next of kin, be that your spouse or your child(ren), while also leaving individual possessions to specific people, both inside and outside of your family. For example, if you have an ornament in a display cabinet that your best friend has always admired, you could specify in your will that they get it once you pass away. Similarly, if you shared a hobby with one of your grandchildren – stamp collecting, for example – your will can specify that he or she gets your collection when you pass away rather than leaving it up to common sense to prevail after your death.
On this, it is worth noting that, if you were to die intestate, the rules regarding statutory legacy changed recently.
It makes sense then to draw up a will. In addition to ensuring your estate is divided as you would want it to be, therefore also helping to avoid the possibility of the division of your estate being contested following your death, we would suggest that it will also help those you leave behind – rather than having to divide up your belongings and the potential squabbles this could cause, they can instead focus on grieving your passing.
What you should do
In the first instance, make sure that you get a will drawn up! Depending upon the complexity of the will you want to draw up, this needn’t cost the earth either – a simple will could cost you from around £80 to have drawn up depending upon the firm you use, while a specialist will involving the creation of trusts, overseas properties and the like, is going to cost over £500 to draw up. On this, it should be noted that national laws may apply if you own land and property in other countries. For example, if you own land or property in Italy, Italian law states that this passes automatically to your children upon your death.
However, if one of your family members has died without having left a will (known as ‘dying intestate’), or you feel that a family member’s will has treated you unfairly and the estate is now disputed, it is a good idea to speak to someone who is experienced in the areas of contesting a will or contesting probate.
At The Inheritance Experts, we work with specialist legal firms who have a proven track record in handling wills and probate matters. This means they are well-placed to help you get the proportion of the estate you are entitled to. After your initial consultation with our advisors, which is done on a free no-obligation basis, we will match you with the firm that best suits the circumstances of your claim.
If you believe you are due a portion of an estate and want to know if you have a fair and realistic claim to some or all of it, do not hesitate to get in touch with The Inheritance Experts via the contact form on our website or by calling 0161 413 8763.