As long as death and taxes remain life’s certainties, keeping your will current is advisable
In the Eighteenth Century, Benjamin Franklin reputedly said that in this world nothing is certain except death and taxes. His famous quote still rings true today – but are you one of the many people who do not have an up-to-date will?
According to research, the number of people in the UK without a current will is at an all-time high, with more than half of UK adults yet to write one. It is an astonishing figure, evidence of a general lack of preparation for the inevitability of death and a widespread reluctance among many to put their financial affairs in order.
So why should you write a will? A will is necessary to ensure your estate is distributed according to your wishes rather than as the government might direct under the law. A will enables you to appoint executors of your choice to ensure your wishes are carried out, and to appoint guardians for your infant children, helping you retain influence in their day-to-day care in the event of your untimely death.
Without a will you die intestate and there are specific rules to establish who inherits your estate in such circumstances. Frighteningly these can mean that a long-term partner you have lived with for many years will not inherit from your estate, so in such circumstances a will is essential. Overall, there are huge benefits in having a will compared with the significant risks of relying on an out-of-date will or having no will at all.
Many people prefer not to think about their wills, perhaps to avoid dwelling on the inevitability of their death, but writing a will is the only reliable way to create certainty and avoid potential disputes between those left behind. It is also an essential part of tax planning and mitigating your Inheritance Tax liability – not having a will can have huge financial impacts on your family.
And it is important your will remains up-to-date. It is a good idea to review it at least every five years – more frequently if your circumstances or those of your family change, if you marry, on the birth of a new child or grandchild, or in light of new tax legislation.
For more information on will-writing and probate law or for advice and support with writing a new will or reviewing your current will, contact the George Ide team on 01243 786668 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ursula Watt. Partner & Head of Private Client
General, George Ide, News, Private Client