Have you made a will?

Over a lifetime we spend our time working hard to provide for our loved ones and making a Will ensures that when you die your estate – property, possessions, savings and investments – are shared according to your wishes. A Will is important for everyone but even more so if you have children, own property, have savings or own a business.

What will happen if I die without making a will?

If you die without having made a Will, you will have no say in how your estate is shared out. When someone dies without a valid Will, the Rules of Intestacy apply and your estate will be divided in a pre-determined way and those who you may not want to benefit could end up doing so. In addition, there is a danger that your estate isn’t divided in the most tax-efficient way. It’s also important to note that if you live with you someone, regardless of whether you are married or are in a civil partnership, they might not automatically inherit your estate.

Can I make my own will?

The answer to this is yes, but without professional assistance, there is a very real possibility that you could make mistakes, or that your Will is unclear, which means that your Will could be invalid. In cases where there are a number of beneficiaries or complex finances, using a qualified Will Writer is of paramount importance. I recently had a case where a Client had meticulously written out a new Will by hand by copying word-for-word the Will his Solicitor had previously prepared, but deliberately excluding one clause. He had the Will witnessed by two people, but he had failed to sign the document himself! It wasn’t valid.

Before making a Will it’s a good idea to think about and list what you have in your estate as this will enable you to make decisions on how you would like your estate to be divided.

Things to think about include:

  • If you have minor children who will look after them?
  • What will happen if your beneficiaries die before you?
  • Who will be your executors (the people to carry out your wishes in your Will)?
  • Are your Executors young enough to be fit and well when their services are required?
  • What other wishes do you have? Do you want to be buried or cremated, for example?

Our circumstances can change over the years and once you’ve written your Will, you should review it regularly to ensure that it still reflects your wishes or any significant changes to your lifestyle. Major life-events such as marriage, divorce or the birth of children will all have implications, as will the purchase of a new property or any other expensive assets.

Many people either don’t want to think about making a Will or put it off for years as they’re worried about the cost. However, dying intestate can leave your loved ones with significant financial problems to deal with, causing additional grief at what is already a very emotional time. A simple Will is inexpensive to put in place, even with professional help. Order my eBook, “Will Writing: The dos and don’ts” for a discount on an already low price.

If you would like to find out more about how I can help you ensure that you pass on your assets to your family and loved ones, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for further information.

The initial consultation process is at our expense, but fees are charged for the preparation of legal documents, financial advice, etc., and full terms of business will be disclosed in writing prior to undertaking any chargeable work

About Clive Barwell

Clive Barwell is one of the most experienced and qualified financial planners working in the later life market today, he specialises in advice and guidance for the over 55s. To ask Clive a question, please email him at info@clivebarwell.co.uk. Alternatively, you can follow Clive on Twitter, connect with Clive on LinkedIn or see Clive's profile on Google+.