Sarah White of the Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP) Wills and Estates team discusses some very good reasons why, if you have not yet made a Will, you should consider doing so.

More than half of the population die without having made a Will. In my job, I often see the devastating effects not having a Will can cause for family members left behind.

When a person dies without having made a valid Will they die “intestate”. Over recent years, the Treasury has annually benefitted from between £50 and £70 million pounds from estates where a person has died intestate.

Some very good reasons why everyone should make a Will are as follows:

Your Executors – These are the people responsible for ensuring that your wishes are carried out. If you die intestate the Intestacy Rules decide who will be appointed to administer your estate and this is not always the person most suitable for the role or the person you might have wanted.

Guardians – If you have children under 18 it is important that you appoint Guardians for them. Failure to do so could make an already difficult time for your children worse, perhaps leading to the involvement of Social Services.

Funeral Wishes – You are able to state your wishes, for example, whether you wish for a burial or cremation. This can be a comfort for those loved ones having to make arrangements when you are gone.

Intestacy Rules – If you are not married but are cohabiting with a partner they would not benefit from your estate if you died without leaving a Will.  Also if you wish to make gifts to charities or specific individuals these would generally need to be specified in a Will as, again, the people you would like to benefit may not do so under the Intestacy Rules.

Recent Marriage/Civil Partnership/Divorce – If you marry or form a Civil Partnership this will normally revoke an existing Will, resulting in you needing to make a new one. A divorce does not revoke the whole of an existing Will, but it does cancel any bequests to your former spouse. It is therefore important to make sure that you update your Will as your circumstances change and that you review it on a regular basis.

I hope this article prompts you to make a Will or review your existing Will. It is easy to put off the task of making a Will for another day – none of us feel comfortable when faced with our own mortality.  However, you really should ensure your loved ones are protected when you pass away.

Sarah White, solicitor in the TSP Wills and Estates team, can be contacted on 01255 254265 or by email sarah.white@tsplegal.com.