Reasons to Make A Will

A significant proportion of the UK population will die without having ever made a Will. For those who have made a Will, it is recommended that you should review your existing Will and financial arrangements every three to five years to ensure that at the time of your death, your Will is an accurate reflection of your wishes.

Without a Will there is no guarantee that the people you want to benefit from your estate will receive anything on your death.

It is important for you to make a will whether or not you have a large estate and require tax planning advice, or you consider yourself to have only a few possessions and a small amount of savings. It is important to make a will for the following reasons:-

  • To retain control over the disposal of your estate after your death - if you die without a will, the distribution of your estate (i.e. how the money, property and possessions are allocated) is dictated by the rules of intestacy. These are set in English law and cannot be varied without the consent of all of the beneficiaries who benefit from the deceased's estate. If the rules of Intestacy take effect, you have no control over the way that your money and possessions will be distributed.
    Example 1: Under the intestacy rules, the "statutory legacy" (the amount payable to a spouse or civil partner on death) is currently £250,000.00 when there are surviving issue (children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren).  The spouse will also receive all the deceased’s personal possessions.  If there are no surviving issue whatsoever, the spouse or civil partner of the deceased is entitled to inherit the whole of the estate.   When there are surviving issue, If the deceased's estate exceeds the amount of the statutory legacy in place at the time of their death, the surviving spouse will then take half of the remainder of the estate with the other half going to the children.
    Example 2:  Unmarried partners and partners who have not registered a civil partnership cannot inherit from each other unless there is a will, so the death of one partner may create serious financial problems for the remaining partner
  • To select guardians for minor children - if you have children, you can make  arrangements for who will be responsible for the care of children if either one or both parents die.
  • To minimise any Inheritance Tax Liability - it may be possible to reduce the amount of tax payable on your estate if advice is taken in advance and a will is made.
  • To provide for vulnerable beneficiaries - if you would like to make provision in your Will for vulnerable beneficiaries, it may be possible to arrange for money to be left in trust for them. Trusts can be set up to protect the interests of disabled or vulnerable beneficiaries.
  • To provide for a change in circumstances - if your personal circumstances have changed, it is important that you make a will to ensure that your money and possessions are distributed according to your wishes. If, for example, you are separated from a spouse or partner and your ex-partner now lives with someone else, you may want to change your will. If you are married or enter into a registered civil partnership, this will make any previous will you have made invalid.
  • To select appropriate Executors and Trustees - your Executors are responsible for administering your money, property and possessions in accordance with the terms of your Will. It is important that you trust your Executors and Trustees to carry out your wishes.