Making a will can help protect your loved ones after you die, and ensure your estate is dealt with in the way you choose. We explain the top reasons you need to make a will.
- A will makes it much easier for your family or friends to sort everything out when you die – without a will the process can be more time consuming and stressful.
- If you don’t write a will, everything you own will be shared out in a standard way defined by the law – which isn’t always the way you might want.
- A will can help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that might be payable on the value of the property and money you leave behind.
- Writing a will is especially important if you have children or other family who depend on you financially, or if you want to leave something to people outside your immediate family.
WHEN SHOULD YOU MAKE A NEW WILL – As you move through life your circumstances change, as do the potential risks and complications when you pass away. You should consider making a new will:
- when you have an unmarried partner who should inherit from your estate. when you get married, and your old will is invalidated (in England and Wales) or doesn’t include your new spouse (in Scotland).
- When you have a child so that you can appoint a guardian. When you buy a property or receive a large windfall.
- If you get divorced, as your previous will won’t automatically be invalidated.
- When you want to make provisions for step-children, foster children or dependents.
- If your spouse passes away, and your previous will left the estate to them.
MAKE SURE YOUR WILL IS OFFICIAL – A will that is not properly signed and witnessed is invalid.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, two witnesses are required. Both witnesses need to be in the same room with you when you sign the will.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you’ll need to be 18 to create a will. A witness does not need any special qualification or public standing but is merely witnessing your signature.
However, they must not have any beneficial interest in the will as this could make the will invalid. This means they cannot receive any gifts from the will or be named as beneficiaries.
In Scotland, normally one witness is sufficient, but in limited circumstances, even a will that is not witnessed may still be valid. A will can be drafted by anyone aged 12 or older.
If you’re not sure whether your will is valid, please contact us and we can advise or update your will.