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6 Reasons why you're never too young to make a Will

This article appeared in Chic Lifestyle magazine in January 2010.

It’s a common misconception that making a Will is something that you should do as you get older. Of course, it is something that most people do not like to think about. However, there are a number of sound reasons, both financial and personal, why you should do it now. (Not least of which is the fact that it is probably a lot cheaper than you think.)

Here, Katy Burgin, partner at Norrie Waite & Slater solicitors in Sheffield, gives us her top 6 reasons why you should make a Will.will making advice

1. Unmarried couples

If you are living with someone, but are not married to them, it is critical that you make a Will to protect them, otherwise they may get nothing. Unmarried partners have very little protection in law and the idea of a ‘common law partner’ has no legal standing.

2. Specify who will inherit your assets

Making a Will is the only way to ensure that your assets go to your loved ones in the way that you would like. Even if you do not have substantial financial or property assets you may still have important personal possessions which you may wish to leave to particular people.

If you die without leaving a Will you are said to have died ‘intestate’ and your estate is distributed according to the laws of intestacy. The laws specify how assets are distributed to family members in a fixed order. If you have no family members then your assets will go to the Crown.

The danger of dying intestate is that you will have no say in who gets what. Family members who you may not wish to could inherit your assets. Likewise, people who are not blood relatives, such as unmarried partners, may not receive anything.

3. Nominate guardians for your children

If you have children under 18, it is important to consider who would take care of them in the event of both parents passing away at the same time.

While family members may step in to care for them, it may not be who you would choose to do so. Appointing guardians enables you to have some say in who would bring them up. It can also help to avoid disputes between opposing family members who would all like to help. By stating your wishes in a Will you can make it clear exactly what you would like to happen.

4. Avoid family disputes

If you do not leave a Will you are increasing the chances of your estate being disputed my family members later on. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. By making a Will you can avoid any dispute by making it clear exactly what you want to happen.

5. Protect children from previous relationships

Many people have children from previous relationships. If you have remarried and have not made a Will, your children could miss out on their entitlement to the share of your estate that you would want them to have. By making a Will you can ensure that both your current partner and your children all receive exactly what you would like them to.

6. Same sex relationships

If you are in a same sex relationship, but have not entered into a civil partnership, your partner is likely to get nothing from your estate if you were to die. Your assets would most likely pass to your next of kin under the laws of intestacy, which may be your parents or siblings.

Making a Will is a very simple process. A solicitor will meet with you to discuss your requirements and to offer advice on any areas you may not have thought about. They will help you to decide how your Will should be drafted and also that you fully understand exactly what will happen.

Many people are tempted to write home made Wills or buy Will making kits from stationers in the belief that they will be effective. In many cases they are not because of mistakes made or lack of understanding of the law.

There are many rules which govern how Wills are drawn up and witnessed. If you have an incorrectly written Will it may be disregarded or ineffective when you die. This can result in you effectively being intestate and your assets not going to those you wish. The legal costs incurred to rectify any errors in a home made Will may well exceed the cost of a professionally prepared Will.
A professionally written Will can be surprisingly inexpensive and give you the peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out.

Follow this link for more information on making a Will.

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