Thinking of your own demise may not be the mood brightener you’re looking for during the financial trials of 2022, but get your will sorted and you’ll have peace of mind for life that your estate is going to your loved ones!
Like any other aspect of wealth management, making a will is a responsible decision ensuring your money is not left for the authorities to decide where your life savings and money go.
Here we’ll look at the reasons why it’s never too early to make a will and the essentials everyone should include.
What is a will?
The word ‘will’ is a shortened version of ‘last will and testament.’ It’s a person’s last declaration or wish and details how that person’s assets are to be managed after their death. A will is legally binding, and in most cases, it will be upheld by law. Making a will can be done by anyone 18 and over – there’s no need to wait until retirement..
Essentials to include in a will
Making a will is simply another facet of careful, responsible wealth management. It should detail the following:
- The total wealth of your estate (this will include housing, savings, and any investments).
- Your beneficiaries (these are the people who will benefit from your will).
- Your executor (the person given the responsibility to ensure the terms of your will are adhered to).
The actual specifics of a will are very much a personal thing – it should simply include any wealth you have. It’s important to list every single source of wealth personally owned, as your intended benefactors may miss out on items not featured.
What happens if there’s no will?
A death without a will is legally called ‘intestacy.’ Intestacy has its own rules on how an estate should be shared out, in the event that there’s no will. Depending on the size of your estate and the number of beneficiaries, instances, where no will can be found, may lead to drawn-out protracted negotiations, and complications for loved ones left behind. Take care of your will now and you can turn your attention back to living and making the most of your life!
Cases of no surviving relatives
Furthermore, if no will has been made and no surviving relatives have come forward, your estate will be passed to the British Crown. Any property, savings or investments you have are then the responsibility of a treasury solicitor.
Those making a will should be aware that their assets can also be gifted to organisations such as charities , and not just to human individuals. This is something well worth considering if you have no surviving relatives left.
Why make a will?
There are countless good reasons to make a will, and specific factors will be directly linked to the size of an estate or the number of beneficiaries you have. But for a general overview, making a will is essential for the following reasons:
1. Save on stress
A failure to make a will can affect the whole of your investment portfolio, even if you won’t be around to see it. Just as you would think long and hard about whether to add to your stockpile, a will needs careful consideration to get right. But once done, you’ll have removed a large financial weight from your mind.
You can also rest well in the notion that your benefactors won’t have a time of further consternation following your death. There’ll be no need for disputes, for court appearances or guesswork from those still around. A will ensures a tidy conclusion for all concerned.
2. Keep control over your finances
You have worked hard all your life, and invested wisely, few of those who’ve made money would like to think of it all being squirrelled away by legal obligations or petty disputes.
Making a will allows you to decide precisely who gets what, down to the nearest pound coin. And by stipulating who benefits, you’ll also be making it plain who is not to benefit. If a particular person does not appear on your will, they'll receive absolutely nothing.
3. Leave a positive legacy
Yes, a will is also your best chance of leaving a positive legacy behind. Perhaps you’ve made some charitable donations in the past and wish to leave some of your estates to a specific organisation. Writing a will enables you to ensure this happens.
Most of us don't enjoy thinking too far ahead in regard to our own death, no matter how young or old we currently are. But keeping a will is simply being responsible for your finances, in much the same way as you’d buy a property, make an investment or open a savings account.
And remember – once you’ve written your will, keep it in a safe place, be it at your home, bank or solicitor’s office. Dying without a will is best avoided and having a will that no one can find has also been the cause of many unwanted problems.
For an alternative to wills, you might want to consider trust funds as a means of securing your assets in future. And to discuss any type of retirement plan with an independent financial adviser, please don't hesitate to contact us today.