Making a Will may not be something most of us would consider a top priority- after all, according to research by Royal London, 59% of UK residents still don’t have one! It is nonetheless a vitally important document that gives you the ability to do far more than divide up your estate.
With 2019 behind us, a new year (and new decade!) provides an excellent opportunity to get your Will sorted- getting one boxed ticked off on your list of New Year’s Resolutions.
So, what exactly can a Will do?
Make provisions for your loved ones
When people think “Will,” this is probably what springs to mind first. Your Will allows you to divide up your estate and decide who gets what after you’re gone.
You can be as specific as you like in a Will- after all, it’s yours! Whether you want to leave everything to your close family members or give exact percentage shares to relatives and loved ones, making a Will is the best way to do it.
Without a Will, unfortunately you don’t get a choice in what happens to your estate after you pass away- the law of Intestacy will apply, which may or may not reflect your wishes in the way that you’d hoped. Our chart below explains the Intestacy order if you’re not sure how this may affect your estate.
Give to charity
Many of us regularly give to charitable causes we believe in- but did you know that this can continue even after you’re gone?
Your Will allows you to make gifts to charity in the same way you would leave gifts to loved ones. This can be done as a specific sum, or if you prefer, as a percentage of your estate.
Gifts in Wills are an essential source of funding for many charities, and leaving a legacy to a cause you’re passionate about is a loving and appreciated gesture that can help to secure a future for the charity’s work.
Set out your funeral wishes
Many of us have a rough idea of their funeral wishes, and you may have had a conversation with your loved ones about this already, but did you know that your Will allows you to specify these wishes?
This is a great way to inform your executors of any special requests you have- as well as setting out the things you don’t want at your funeral service! This is especially useful if you do not want flowers at the service, or would prefer a natural burial for example.
Exclude undesirable beneficiaries
You may already have an idea of who you’d like to inherit after you’re gone. However, it is also important to consider whether or not there is anyone you would like to exclude.
Many of us will have friends or family members who have had an inheritance nightmare, in which an estranged family member has made a claim on a deceased person’s estate. This can lead to lengthy legal proceedings, and even if the claim is defeated in court, the legal fees could cause losses to the estate.
When Sir Peter Ustinov passed away, many of his family members argued that they had a claim on his estate. Sir Ustinov wrote his Will 36 years prior to his death, and judges ruled that he died intestate. Despite estimates that his estate could be worth tens of millions of pounds at the time of his death in 2004, it is believed that the vast majority of his estate has now been whittled away by legal fees.
By making a Will- and more importantly, ensuring it is kept up to date over the years- you can give your loved ones the best possible chance of inheriting from your estate.
Where do I begin?
Making a Will can be a daunting prospect. That’s why Accord offers a free home visit from one of our specialist estate planning consultants, who can answer any questions you have and provide a solution to suit your circumstances.
To arrange your free home visit, give Accord Legal Services a call today on 01744 807048.
Royal London research – https://www.royallondon.com/media/press-releases/2018/december/perplexed-by-wills/