It is often assumed that preparing Wills, creating LPAs and seeking financial advice should only be done at a later stage of your life once you have, for example, worked numerous years of your life, purchased many assets, got married, had children or bought your dream car. In this article we look at the reasons why you are never too young to create a Will and get your affairs in order.
Where you do not have a Will in place, on your death, the Intestacy Rules will apply to your Estate. In the majority of cases, this means that the person or persons dearest to you, whom you may wish to benefit from your Estate, may not benefit by virtue of these rules.
At the time of your death, it is extremely difficult to know how much your Estate is worth. Therefore, although you may feel at this stage of your life that your Estate is not worth much, it could potentially be worth more than you think at the time of your death. For example, if you were to die in an accident that was not your fault, compensation may be payable to your Estate, increasing its value.
Covid-19 is a true life example of how we cannot predict what the future holds. Simply, we do not know what lies around the corner. Therefore, it is extremely important to review your Estate and get your affairs in order, so that your loved ones are protected in accordance with your wishes.
Once your Will is in place, it can be amended or a new Will created depending on your circumstances at that time, and the changes that you wish to make. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to speak to the Solicitor drafting your Will, not only of your current circumstances, but any future plans that you may be aware of, or you hope to achieve. The solicitor drafting your Will can then be mindful of this when drafting your Will in order to cover your plans as much as possible, and advise you accordingly at that time.
Having a Will in place means that no matter what lies around the corner, you can be rest assured throughout your life that you have your affairs in order and have security to protect your loved ones and retain control of what happens to your Estate.
A Will is not only about your finances, but can also cover a number of other matters. Some of these matters include provisions to help your Executors carry out your wishes in relation to your funeral wishes, appointment of a guardian of any minor children, setting out health care wishes or even appointing someone to look after your pet, for example.
We look at these, and a few other examples as to why you are not too young to put in place a Will, in more detail, below:
Children: you may have children under the age of 18 years of age. You may or may not have thought about who you would trust to look after your children in the event that you were no longer around. A provision as to who you wish to appoint as a guardian to look after your child or children can be included in the Will. By having this provision, you have reassurance that your Executors are aware of who is to be appointed as the Guardian, so that your children are not left in a vulnerable position of not knowing what is happening, where they are going, who is going to look after them etc. Not only is this reassurance that your children will be appointed a guardian in accordance with your wishes, but including such a provision in the Will creates an effective legal appointment.
Pets: We often overlook the fact that we can appoint someone in our Will to look after our pets in the event that we predecease them. They are our family after all, we have looked after them, raised them and brought them into our lives as our loved ones. Therefore, we would want to know that they too are looked after. This can be done by including a relevant provision in your Will. This might include appointing someone to look after them, and/or setting out your wishes as to how they should be looked after.
Fiancé, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner: where there is not a Will in place, the Intestacy Rules will apply. In accordance with the Intestacy Rules a fiancé, boyfriend, girlfriend or partner, may not receive anything from your Estate. In the event that you wanted to protect that person, in order for them to inherit from your Estate, you wishes would need to be set out in a Will.
Other Investments or items of value: often other investments or items of value can be overlooked as forming part of our estate. These might include death in service benefits, insurance policies, pensions and items of sentimental importance for example, jewellery, art work, pictures, medals to name a few. Provisions can be made in the Will known as ‘specific legacies’ where these items can be named individual and left to a person of your choice, for example you might wish to leave your vintage car model to your nephew, or an expensive handbag to your aunt.
Where a person has not been nominated to benefit from your pension benefits or insurance policy directly, then this will form part of your estate and should be addressed in your Will.
Funeral Wishes: matters such as funeral wishes aren’t necessarily discussed amongst family members at an early stage of our lives. Having provisions in a Will setting out your wishes will give clarity to your Executors as to your wishes in relation to how you wish your funeral to take place, what you would like to happen to your body or even where you would like to be buried, or your ashes scattered. For example, you might wish to have a religious burial, or perhaps you might wish for your body to be donated to science for the purposes of research.
Avoid family disputes about the estate following your death: this can be an incredibly difficulty time for loved ones. There is nothing to say that a dispute will not arise, but the extent of the dispute is likely to be minimised hugely by having a Will in place in the event that it does. Having a Will in place sets out your intentions clearly, where the Will is drafted accurately and properly. In the event that you anticipate a dispute arising in the future, for example because you have left out someone in your Will who feel they should be included, you should discuss this with your Solicitor so that they can take this into consideration when drafting the Will and ensure that your wishes are protected and your affairs are in order, in order to mitigate the risk of a dispute arising as much as possible.
At Aston Bond, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney(s). If you would like to benefit from this service, please do not hesitate to contact her on 01753 486 777.