It’s a definite hot topic currently in the UK with only a third of adults actually being covered by a will when they die despite the importance of the document and the fact that any adult (over the age of 18) can legally write one. This article from Gordon Dean solicitors in Great Yarmouth shows why it is so important to make a will, and how simply it can be done.
A will is a legally binding document which gives people the opportunity to decide what happens to their property, possessions and capital when they die. If a person passes away without a will it is said that you have ‘died intestate’ and the state will look after the often complicated and emotive issue of how to share out the person’s assets.
There are many reasons why you should choose to make a will, whether it is so that family squabbles are prevented over who takes what, so you can make gifts to individuals, charities or to provide for pets, appoint guardians or set up a trust fund for young children or even to leave instructions about how you would like your funeral to be – there really is almost no limit on what you can specify.
There have been a couple of reasons to suggest why people seem to be reluctant to make a will, perhaps it is because you are accepting the inevitable, some people have said ‘I don’t have enough money to bother’ or maybe it is because you simply don’t see the point yet. However, writing a will can really help your family through a difficult time if an incident were to occur. On top of that there is often a tax benefit to making a will, if you die intestate the likelihood is that your family will have to pay more tax on your assets than if the will is carefully considered and planned for with a solicitor.
Will writing, surprisingly is not and never has been heavily regulated, an individual can actually write a will without even visiting a solicitor, providing they follow some legal guidelines. This practice however is not advised as wills written without a solicitor’s guidance can often be found to be invalid in the eyes of the law, which can be very distressing.
There are a few reasons why a will can be revoked. If it is physically destroyed by the testator or another will is made the original will be invalid. Also, in the case of divorce a will made before the break-up of the marriage is partially revoked as it remains valid but any references to the former spouse are deleted. Another very interesting point is that under certain circumstances a will can be altered after death by the people mentioned in it – they all have to reach a consensus and be over the age of 18.
By not creating or not maintaining your will you are running the risk of your family not being cared for in the case of your death. Children are said to be those who could be most affected as 77% of parents with children under the age of 5 have not made a will. There have been many pushes and drives to increase the number of people in the UK who make wills with stands now seen in shopping centres and the ‘Make a Will Week’. Solicitors hope that this will see a rise in the percentage of those writing and maintaining wills, bringing the issue to the fore.