A shocking amount of adults in the UK have not written a will, and it is estimated that one third of adults pass away without making one.
If you don’t leave a will, then the law decides what happens to your possessions and money – aka your estate.
The Importance of Writing a Will
There are various reasons why it’s important that everyone writes a will, including:
- If you are not married or in a civil partnership with your partner, then the law may not recognise your relationship and he/she may receive nothing
- Not having a will can cause arguments between loved ones after you have passed away. This is partly due to the additional stress it can cause at a time when they are highly likely to be dealing with a lot of grief
- It can potentially help to reduce the amount of inheritance tax your loved ones have to pay
- If you die and have no relatives then everything would normally be passed to the government. You may prefer your assets to be passed to close friends and/or charities.
- Parents with young children – need to specify who will look after their children if the worst should happen. If nothing has been specified in a person’s will, the Court decides who is best suited to look after the children.
- A number of wills are ‘outdated’ due to marriage or divorce. After an individual gets married, any existing will is usually revoked .
Reasons People have not yet written a Will
Shropshire based law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, carried out research to help determine why it is that over half of UK adults, have not written a will. Reasons included:
I’m too young
Regardless of how old you are, if you have children and/or an estate of value, you should definitely take the time to write a will.
It’s too time consuming
The time it takes to write a will depends on how complicated your estate is, and if you run your own business, have children from different marriages etc.
Typically you have one appointment with a solicitor, lasting around an hour. You may have another follow up appointment so you can check over and sign the will if you’re happy with it.
It’s bad luck
Although people may feel like they are tempting fate, it’s not really a good reason not to put everything in place should the worst happen. Especially if you have children who will need looking after.
The legal system will sort it out
They will, but this can cause all kinds of disappointments, complications and arguments.
It’s too expensive
Again the expense depends on how complicated your finances are and how large your family is – but writing a will averages at around £200 for one person and around £300 for a couple.
How to Write a Will
You can use a solicitor to write a will, a Will Writer or you can make a DIY will.
You should only consider a DIY Will if your situation, and your wishes are very simple and straight forward. For example, if you want to leave everything to your wife.
If you do make a will yourself, ensure that it is signed and witnessed correctly and make sure your family know where it’s kept.
Again this might be a good option if your situation is fairly simple, and if you know the basics of how to make a will already.
Will Writers are typically cheaper than solicitors however, Will Writers don’t offer the same level of protection as solicitors do if something should go wrong or be incorrect.
In addition not many will writers are legally qualified and they may not be able to store your will like some solicitors can.
Most people choose to use a solicitor to make their will. If you can afford £100-£300 it’s definitely the best option, and gives you the peace of mind that is the entire point of making a will in the first place.
They are full regulated by the legal ombudsman and will make sure that the will is valid and watertight from a legal perspective.
They can also advise on the best ways to minimise the amount of inheritance tax that you may have to pay.