A recent UK survey by YouGov has taught us that hundreds of thousands of people are passing away each year without having made a Will. The aim of this blog post is to rule out the common misconceptions, to show just how essential it is to make a Will.
- “We’ve lived together for ten years, we have two children, we’re not married but I know that if the worst were to happen, all of my assets would go to my partner.”
Sadly, this may not be the case. The latest statistics show that 74% of cohabiting couples have not made a Will, with many of them using this as their reason. When a person dies intestate – without a Will – there are rules in place which determine the way that the estate is to be distributed. This process can be very drawn out and complicated; an unnecessary extra stress for family and friends.
- “I keep meaning to make a Will but I just haven’t got round to it.”
In the aforementioned YouGov survey, 32% of those who had not made a Will used this as an excuse. We have all experienced those weeks that turn into months and disappear before us, but it is far too often that we hear horror stories of families who have had to deal with even more stress than expected following the death of a loved one. Take the late Rik Mayall’s family for example, following his unexpected death they were left with a large estate to take care of, and to go with it, a very hefty tax bill. Read the full story of Rik Mayall here http://dailym.ai/1NldQSE.
- “I made a Will years ago, things have changed but that doesn’t matter.”
A Will needs to be updated whenever there is a change in life, be it simple or significant. Ranging from address changes and marriages to new births and deaths, anything incorrect or left out has the potential to invalidate your Will.
- “My husband has a Will, so I don’t need one.”
It is essential for both halves of a marriage or partnership to make Wills. Couples often opt for ‘Mirror Wills’ which are very similar or identical and ensure that both partners will be cared for and considered.
- “My children would be fine if anything were to happen.”
Making a Will allows you to determine who would be the guardian of your children if you were to die before they reached the age of 18.
The director of Bereavement Services at Child Bereavement UK, Ann Rowland, recommends the best ways to discuss the subject with our little ones to ensure that they will always feel safe and secure.
“Talking to children about who would love and care for them if you weren’t around gives them a sense of security. Sadly I have worked with children whose parents have died suddenly with no plans in place, leaving them anxious about whether their guardians really want them or not. The best way to combat these fears is to appoint a guardian at an early stage, and to allow natural discussions about death and dying to develop between yourself and your children, so that they accept there are plans in place for them should the worst happen.”
Without this forward planning, it is up to the court to decide who will look after a child, family being the first choice or social care if there are no relatives or friends to be considered.
Making a Will is much simpler than many people realise. All that’s required is the names and addresses of any beneficiaries and executors; the deeds of any properties owned will also be essential, as well as details of vehicles and any other significant belongings; and finally, information on any money owed, such as car loans and mortgages.