The importance of making a will and protecting your legacy
Making a will is a crucial step in ensuring that your wishes regarding the distribution of your estate are respected after your passing. Having a will is not mandatory but it is a vital move. Without one your estate will be distributed in accordance with the law.
And throughout November you get to combine protecting your legacy with helping charity thanks to Will Aid.
Making a will isn’t just about formalities. It’s about distributing your estate in a way you want. Your will can also include elements such as whether you want to be buried or cremated. If you’re passionate about specific charities or causes, your will is a chance to name them as beneficiaries.
Making a will has a range of other benefits too.
Peace of Mind
Knowing you’ve taken care of your family and assets is the main reason for making a will. When the inevitable happens, having your affairs in order allows your loved ones to focus on grieving and supporting each other without the added stress.
You also get to name up to four executors, so you can choose who is responsible for the handling of your will’s content.
Control Over Your Estate
You get to call the shots regarding your estate. Your will can be as detailed as you want, ensuring what you want finds its way into the right hands. You can even allocate a portion of your estate to a cause that’s close to your heart.
Protection for Dependents
If you have dependents, like children or vulnerable family members, you can help secure their future through your will. You can name guardians to look after your children and outline financial provisions for their upbringing, education and overall well-being. This guarantees that your dependent loved ones get the care you want for them.
Inheritance Tax Liability Planning
As part of your will-making process you might seek advice about estate planning. Careful estate planning means you can reduce the burden of inheritance tax (IHT). By carefully structuring asset distribution and taking advantage of available tax exemptions, you can ensure more of your legacy reaches your chosen beneficiaries instead of going to the government.
Avoiding Intestacy Laws
Without a will, intestacy laws step in to distribute your assets according to a predefined formula. These laws may not account for your unique circumstances and desires, potentially leaving valuable assets in the hands of distant relatives and neglecting individuals you intended to provide for.
Without a will in place, the distribution of your estate can easily become a source of conflict. By clearly expressing your intentions and the reasons behind your decisions you can reduce misunderstandings and disagreements. Beneficiaries will know your specific wishes.
What Happens If You Don’t Have a Will
If you pass away without a will in the UK, your estate falls under the jurisdiction of intestacy laws. The law dictates very clearly the order of division, which might not align with your wishes.
With intestacy the process also becomes slower and more complicated, causing delays in asset distribution and adding emotional stress. Family members may disagree about asset distribution, leading to disputes that are emotionally and financially draining.
Intestacy proceedings can also be costly and cause conflicts that bring fees and expenses reducing your estate’s value.
How to Make a Will
Crafting a will in the UK is a relatively straightforward process with multiple options:
- Consult a Solicitor: Engaging solicitors, like these solicitors in Ipswich, who specialise in estate planning is a good approach. They provide expert guidance, ensuring your will is legally sound and tailored to your unique circumstances.
- Use a Will-Writing Service: There are numerous online will-writing services and software tools are available.
- Write Your Own Will: If you prefer a hands-on approach, you can write your will yourself, known as a “DIY will.” Kits are available in high street shops and online.
There is a risk with DIY will kits and online services that your will becomes ambiguous or doesn’t comply with law. It’s important to understand the law around estate distribution before making a will, otherwise your estate might not be distributed the way you want.
And regardless of how you create your will, it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries or spouses of beneficiaries.
Will Aid and What It Is
During November, UK solicitors provide will-writing services for free or at a reduced cost through Will Aid. Instead of paying the solicitor’s fee, participants are encouraged to make a voluntary donation. The donations made through Will Aid are distributed to various charities, including ActionAid, Age UK, and Save the Children. This allows you to support important causes while recording your wishes for the distribution of your estate through your will.
Without a will, the process of distributing your assets can become complex, costly, and may not align with your wishes. Whether you choose to consult a solicitor or use online will-writing services, it’s vital to create a will that suits your needs and secures your legacy.