Why is a Will Important?

We encourage anyone who wants to have control over the way their personal possessions and hard-earned assets are dealt with after they die to make a will. You don’t have to be over a certain age or have considerable wealth for a will to be worthwhile. Anyone can write down their wishes and take advantage of the benefits of doing so. Here we discuss six of the most compelling reasons why you should have an up-to-date will.

For advice and support with making your will, please contact our wills and executry lawyers using our online form or on 0141 887 5181 (Paisley) / 0141 551 8185 (Glasgow).

1. To provide for your loved ones

Writing a will allows you to instruct who will inherit your money, property and possessions after you’re gone – giving you peace of mind that your family will have financial security. You can write down exactly who or which causes you wish to benefit and the specific assets they will receive.

If you die without a will (known as dying intestate), your estate will be distributed according to a set of standard legal rules (called the intestacy rules) – and these may be inconsistent with your wishes. In some situations, this could mean those closest to you lose out, while estranged relatives benefit.

For example, if you die without leaving a will and you’re not married to your partner, they won’t automatically inherit from your estate. They can claim a financial award, however, there is no guarantee the court will grant this. Or, if you have separated from your spouse or civil partner at the time of your death, they may still be entitled to claim for a significant share of your assets, unless you have instructed otherwise.

2. To make things a little easier for your family

Having your instructions in writing will provide welcome direction to your loved ones at a very difficult time, and it may give them some comfort knowing that your wishes are being followed. On the other hand, if no will is left, this can create many administrative and financial challenges for those you love.

3. To appoint a guardian for your children

If you have children under the age of 16, you can name a legal guardian for them in your will. It’s daunting to think of this situation, but it’s important. You should very carefully consider who should take on parental rights and responsibilities and discuss this thoroughly with your partner and the chosen guardian. You can also leave instructions on how your children should be cared for and for payments to be made from your estate for their education and maintenance.

If you die without a will, you won’t have a say on who looks after your children. In this case, the local authority or court may make decisions about guardianship. However, this will always be done in the child’s best interests. 

4. To nominate an executor

As part of the drafting process, you’ll have the opportunity to consider and appoint who you wish to act as executor. The executor is responsible for sorting out your estate. This is an important role that includes valuing your assets, paying off debts and distributing money, property and possessions to your chosen beneficiaries. Therefore, it’s important to nominate someone you trust.

Without a will, you won’t have control over who represents you. Instead, the court will appoint an ‘executor dative’ to manage your estate. Your surviving spouse or civil partner is likely to take on this responsibility. If there is no such person, someone else can apply to be executor dative, as long as they’re entitled to inherit from your estate.

5. To reduce inheritance tax

Making a will and planning your estate allows you to take full advantage of any inheritance tax (IHT) reliefs and reductions that apply, ensuring your loved ones inherit as much as possible. Your lawyer can give you advice on how you can organise your affairs to reduce the tax payable from your estate. This may involve leaving everything over the tax threshold to your spouse or civil partner, donating 10% or more of the net value of your estate to charity or giving gifts during your lifetime.

6. To make specific funeral arrangements

If you have wishes regarding your funeral, you can also include these in your will. You can specify whether you would prefer to be buried or cremated, and include various other instructions, including on the location of your funeral, the music and whether you prefer flowers or donations to charity. If you die without a will, your loved ones will have to make decisions about your funeral at an already difficult time.

Our wills service

Our wills and executry solicitors have helped many clients like you to create clear, valid and comprehensive wills. We listen carefully to your individual needs and advise on how they can be met when drafting your legal document. There are several issues to be aware of when writing your will, for example, how to avoid disputes between family members and misinterpretation of your intentions. We’ll guide you on these and use our specialist drafting skills to ensure problems are prevented.

Wills and Executry Solicitors Paisley, Renfrewshire & Glasgow

Many people put off making a will. However, there are many reasons why it’s important to write down your wishes. Above all, it provides you with peace of mind that your property and assets will pass to the people and causes you want them to.

If you’re looking for support with writing or updating a will, contact us using our online enquiry form. Alternatively, call our Paisley branch on 0141 887 5181 or our Glasgow branch on 0141 551 8185.

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