Why is it important to make a will?
Wills are an important legal document which set out your instructions for the distribution of your estate when you die. Although it isn’t a nice thing to think about, the outbreak of Covid-19 has brought this to the forefront of people’s minds with the risk of illness it carries with it.
You should create a new will or review your current will if there have been significant additions or changes to your life. This includes changes to family life such as if you are getting married or divorced, in a civil partnership or out of one but also if you have children or step children. You may also have to consider these changes mentioned previously if any of these have happened to one of your beneficiaries including if there is a death in the family. Buying property or making investments is also a significant addition that will need to be accounted for in a will.
It is important to make a will so that you know your estate is going to the people you want it to and divided the way you want among family, friends, charities and/or trusts. If you have children, you will want to ensure they are looked after financially but also physically if they are under 18 so a will can be used to appoint a guardian for your children.
There is no requirement for you to make a will as your estate will be divided up and shared out regardless under the ‘rules of intestacy’ but this may not go to the people you want. Under these rules, spouses and close relatives may inherit your estate but it will be up to them to agree upon how it is divided while others you may want to include will likely miss out.
If you have a partner but are unmarried at the time of your death, they will not be entitled to inherit anything unless they are named in your will as a beneficiary. Likewise, a divorced spouse (whether they are your spouse or a relative’s spouse) named in a will as a beneficiary will still be entitled to their inheritance if the will remains unchanged.
A will can make a difficult time for your friends and family run smoother with your instructions clearly set out to reduce potential conflicts or arguments between beneficiaries. Your estate can be used to cover funeral costs, provide financial stability to those you feel may need it while you can also create Trusts to handle the way inheritance is distributed to a beneficiary. You can also name an executor in your will to nominate the person you wish to handle your estate and carry out your wishes so they will know beforehand that it will be their responsibility.
The rules of intestacy will also be applied if a will is deemed invalid so, while there is only a few things you need to include to make it valid, creating it with a solicitor will ensure everything has been done correctly, particularly if the will is more complex.
In these current times, we know how important making a will may seem but also how important it is for it to be made while maintaining social distancing. Our offices are open and we are following guidelines to ensure we are Covid safe to make it as safe as possible for our staff and our clients.
If you feel comfortable with attending one of our offices, we are happy to meet with you at different stages of the process from drafting of the will to the signing and witnessing of the finished document. We can also take instructions online over email or over the phone throughout the process.
Give us a call on 02086802638 or use our Contact Form at the bottom of our Wills and Probate page to start proceedings on making a new will for you.