Nobody likes dwelling on the thought of their own death, but it really is worth taking a moment to consider what happens afterwards. Whatever your age and circumstances, making a will can help you to make sure your loved ones are protected and provided for according to your wishes, should the worst happen. Around 60% of UK adults don’t have a will; if that includes you, here are 5 reasons why you should think about getting one:
1. You have assets and you want to decide who gets what
Even if you don’t have much in the bank, if you die without a will - known as dying intestate - the law will decide how your estate is divided. This could have enormous consequences for your loved ones. For example, if you’re not married, your partner isn’t normally entitled to inherit anything as your estate would automatically pass to living blood relatives. If you die with no relatives and no will, any assets you have will go to the Crown.
Leaving a will can also give you the opportunity to donate some of your estate to charities and causes that mean something to you.
2. Funerals are expensive
If you make a will, the process of paying out your bequests will usually be much faster, allowing your loved ones to use some of the money you’ve set aside to cover funeral costs - these are often more expensive than people think. The average funeral director’s services cost £1,900, and this won’t include the “disbursement costs”. These are the costs for burial or cremation, death certification and ministerial services, which can really add up - the average burial fee is £1,500.
If you want to, you can also use your will to set out your wishes for the funeral, for example whether you want to be buried or cremated.This can help to avoid disagreements between your relatives when planning the funeral.
3. You want to make life easier for those left behind
Dealing with death is always difficult. If you die without a will, what is already a sad time for your loved ones can be made even more distressing. Simply telling them in advance that you have a will and how they can find it could help; if they’re unsure whether you’ve made a will they could spend unnecessary time and money searching for one. If you don’t have a will it could also take a lot of time and hassle before your relatives can gain access to your estate, and then there is the possibility of disputes over how your assets are distributed.
4. You have children
Wills are important for everyone, but if you have children they are essential. As well as making sure that your assets go into trust for children under 18, a will can be used to appoint a guardian in the unfortunate event that both parents die. This can remove a great deal of stress and heartache for your family, and avoid lengthy court proceedings or your children being taken into care if you both pass away.
5. Your assets are likely to total above the inheritance tax threshold
Inheritance tax is the tax due on your estate (the assets remaining after your debts have been paid) after you die. Your estate will be liable for inheritance tax if it is worth above the threshold of £325,000 for an individual, or £650,000 for a married couple. With careful planning you may be able to reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable on your estate. To find out more visit our inheritance tax planning section.
You might not want to think about it now, but making a will can help you secure peace of mind today, and care for your loved ones in the future.