Wills are not just for people leaving millions of pounds! Most people have personal possessions; a bank account; or a car. For younger people, their most important consideration is their children – with a Will they can appoint guardians to look after their children. Everyone needs a will, whether you’re young or old, rich or poor, whether you have children or not. You probably have property and personal possessions that you would want to go to certain people. To put it all down on paper for your family and friends helps to prevent squabbling – or things going where you may not want them to go.
The only certainty in life is death. We can’t choose when we are going to die. Unfortunately, many people die young or unexpectedly and have not made arrangements for their children, family, friends, possessions, etc. Sometimes we may become ill and physically or mentally not competent to write a Will, in these cases decisions may be taken out of our hands.
It’s not as simple as that. Under the intestacy rules, your spouse may not receive everything if you have children – but your step-children will not. Similarly, many people are separated or estranged.
If you don’t make a Will, you may find things being left to a very distant relative that you have never met or heard of (think of the TV programme Heir Hunters) all over the world, who they have never met and who have never even heard of them. If you have no ‘blood relatives’, you may wish to leave something to a friend or a neighbour who has been kind or leave to a charity.
Even if you have very complex finances e.g. pensions, businesses, insurances, and family members and friends, solicitors are experienced in this and can offer advice. Additionally, you don’t have to specify every decision but can appoint Executors (people you trust and whose opinions you value) to make decisions.
The time to write a Will is about the same as taking out insurance or switching a utility supplier which are things we make time for regularly. You can also save time by doing some thinking and making some notes prior to an appointment, which can be fitted in at the start or end of a working day or even a lunch hour. In terms of the cost it has to be looked at in perspective to the importance and compare it with the cost of a car repair or service and it’s just as essential.