Death is no respecter of age or persons and therefore should not be left until the last minute. With a Will in place, your money, property, and affairs will be dealt with as you wish when you die.
It is very important if you are a parent with young children that you have an up to date will. Parents can specify in their will whom they wish to be guardians for their children. For example who would take over the parental responsibility if their children are minors and lose both of their parents.
Furthermore having a will also ensure that children are provided for financially. If parents do not have a will, children, if entitled, will inherit at the age of 18. Children under 18 (if entitled) will be able to inherit but it will be held in a bereaved minor's trust until they attain the age of 18. Inheriting a large sum of money at 18 can often do more harm than good.
In a Will, inheritance can be delayed past the age of 18 or put into a trust. This allows your chosen trustees to make decisions about how the inheritance is used.
Reviewing and Updating Your Will
If you already have a Will in place it's always a good idea to review it every 3 to 5 years. This will ensure that your wishes as to who inherits your estate are up to date. Also when there are significant changes in circumstances, financially or otherwise. Please remember that changes to the law may also affect your Will so it should be reviewed regularly.
Many people may not know that marriage invalidates an existing will. It is therefore important that wills are reviewed regularly and kept up to date.
It is always a good idea to review your will after significant life events. For example, an increase in assets (e.g. purchasing the property), having children, getting married or divorced, or losing someone who is named in your will. This ensures that the will still carries out your wishes and protects your assets.
You must review your Will if:
Someone mentioned in your Will has died
You get married or a civil partnership begins because this revokes any previous Will. Unless the intention of marriage to that particular person was stated in the Will
You get divorced or separate – after getting divorced your Will is still valid. It will automatically remove your former spouse/civil partner from your Will
You separate from your spouse or civil partner. Separation will not affect your Will, so gifts to your spouse or civil partner will still be valid.
You have children – having children does not revoke your Will, neither does it mean that they will automatically be provided for.
The value of your personal wealth changes significantly
The personal circumstances of any of your beneficiaries change. For example, if one of your beneficiaries is in the process of a divorce or dissolution, or in financial difficulty.
You want to protect your assets from care fees
You sell or get rid of a particular asset which is subject to a gift in your Will. For example a car or house.
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Reasons to make a will.
A Will can;
Save time and costs in administering your estate after your death
Let you provide for unmarried partners, friends or charities
Prohibit people from inheriting from your estate who may be entitled under the statutory rules of legacy. For example a separated spouse or family member.
Help reduce the impact of inheritance tax and care fees on your estate
Appoint guardians for your children