10 reasons to make a Will
A Will isn't just a nice-to-have. It's the only way to make sure everything you've worked hard for is passed on to the people you care about.
Writing a Will gives you control over your estate, allowing you to choose what happens to your assets when you're gone.
Whether that’s ensuring your loved ones are taken care of or supporting a charity that's very close to your heart, it really is your choice.
If you’re still in two minds about whether or not to write a Will, here are 10 reasons that might help you decide.
1. Decide what happens to your estate
Writing a Will is the only way you can choose who you want your property, money and possessions (known as your estate) to be passed on to.
Without one, then it's up to the government to decide. That might mean the people you'd like to inherit your estate end up with nothing, while those who you'd rather didn't take the lion's share.
A Will is a legally-binding document that lets you decide how your estate is distributed after you've died.
Having a Will also makes things much easier for the loved ones you leave behind, and minimises the chance of disputes at an already stressful time.
2. Decide who will look after your children
A Will allows you to make an informed decision about who should take care of your minor children. Without a Will, the court will take it upon itself to choose among family members or a state-appointed guardian.
Having a Will allows you to appoint the person you want to raise your children or, better, make sure it is not someone you do not want to raise your children.
3. Avoid a lengthy and costly probate / confirmation
Having a Will speeds up the probate process (or confirmation process in Scotland) and informs the court how you’d like your estate divided. Probate courts serve the purpose of 'administering your estate', and when you die without a Will (known as dying 'intestate'), the court will decide how to divide your estate without your input, which can also cause long, unnecessary delays.
4. Reduce inheritance tax
Another reason to have a Will is that it allows you to minimise inheritance tax. The value of what you give away to family members or charity will reduce the value of your estate when it’s time to pay inheritance tax.
Watch our video on how gifts in Wills can reduce inheritance tax for more on this.
5. Choose your own executors
Making a Will allows you to decide who will wind up the affairs of your estate. Executors make sure all your affairs are in order, including paying off bills, canceling your credit cards, and notifying the bank and other business establishments.
Because executors play the biggest role in the administration of your estate, you’ll want to be sure to appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy, and organised (which may or may not always be a family member).
6. It's easier, and more affordable, than you might think
Some people put off writing a Will because they think it's too much hassle, or too expensive. Thankfully, it's neither of those things.
With the help of a solicitor or Will writing professional, they can do all the work for you, leaving you to just think about where you want your assets to go.
The cost of writing your Will varies depending on how you decide to do it.
- Some online Will writing services, like Bequeathed, allow you to write a simple Will for free.
- A simple Will from a Will writer or bank could start from around £80. As a visitor to our website, you can get a discount on Will writing with Co-op Legal services.
- Solicitors will charge £100 and upwards, depending on the complexity of the Will.
7. Let your legacy live on when you're gone
Make gifts and donations. The ability to make gifts is a good reason to have a Will because it allows your legacy to live on and reflect your personal values and interests.
8. You can change your mind if your circumstances change
A good reason for having a Will is that you can change it at any time while you’re still alive. Life changes, such as births, deaths, and divorce, can create situations where changing your Will are necessary.
9. Tomorrow is not promised
Procrastination and the unwillingness to accept death as part of life are common reasons for not having a Will. Sometimes the realisation that Wills are necessary comes too late – such as when an unexpected death or health issue occurs.
To avoid the added stress on families during an already emotional time, making a Will or updating an existing Will can give you peace of mind for the future.
10. Creating a Will is incredibly simple
Creating a Will is truly simple, yet it’s a task that gets put off frequently. Delaying the creation of a Will can put your loved ones and your wishes at risk as without your Will the probate process takes far longer and it doesn’t automatically mean your loved ones will be the beneficiaries of your estate. So it’s incredibly important you create your Will at the earliest opportunity.
There are now a number of methods you can take towards creating your Will such as:
- Finding a Solicitor or professional Will Writer to write your Will for you
- Taking advantage of Free Wills Month
- Creating your Will through charities providing a free Will writing service
There are more and more options available for making your Will, so you should be able to find something that suits your requirements.
Ready to create a Will?
There are many more reasons to make a will then the 10 we’ve listed. However, if you find yourself in a position where you want to start the process, we recommend visiting our ‘Making a Will’ guide which will give you all the information you need.
When should you consider writing a Will?
For most adults, the simple answer is as soon as possible. More often than not, the best time to write a Will depends on your life circumstances.
There are many occasions in life when it's a good time to consider writing or updating your Will. These key life milestones might include:
- Having a child as you may want to add them to your Will or name an appointed guardian in your Will
- When you get married as any existing Wills before marriage can be rendered invalid when married.
- When there's a large financial change affecting your estate.
- When you are in an unmarried relationship and decide you want your partner to inherit your estate.
- If you get a divorce as your previous Will may not be up to date to represent your current situation.
- When you move house so your Will takes into account the new property.
- When someone included as a beneficiary in your Will has died. You should amend your Will to reflect this.
For more information on updating an existing Will, read our handy guide.
How to write a Will
Writing a Will is made much simpler when you are given the right advice.
If you are interested in writing a Will, we recommend visiting our guide on ‘How to Write a Will’. Our guide will help you understand the processes involved in writing a Will, giving you all the information you require for writing your Will. This includes:
- Valuing your estate
- Deciding how to distribute your estate
- Considering a charity to leave a gift to in your Will
- Naming executors and guardians
- Dealing with digital assets
- Making sure your Will is legally valid
- Storing your Will safely
Our guide will ensure you’ve got all the information you need to make a Will.
How much does making a Will cost?
Once you’ve decided you want a Will, you then need to consider how much your Will is going to cost. As there are quite a few different options for making a Will, the cost of creating a Will varies depending on the method chosen, so it’s important to consider the costs alongside the method chosen. If you’re looking for a thorough understanding of how much it costs to make a Will, then we recommend visiting our guide.
Our guide will help you understand:
- The cost of working with a professional advisor
- The costs associated with certain types of Wills
- Alternative methods of paying for your Will