7th May 2018
Is It ‘Tempting Fate’ To Make A Will?
It’s a common feeling that if you make a will you’re tempting fate. Just thinking about or discussing our own mortality makes it seem like the fateful day will occur tomorrow or next week, not on some distant day in the future!
I would be the first to agree that it is a difficult subject to discuss. But there is some evidence that people who make a will actually live on average for nine months longer than those who don’t. Whether that’s true or not, having everything organised and sorted out brings great peace of mind.
There are lots of myths and misconceptions about wills. I often hear these comments:
“I Haven’t Got Anything To Leave” – Many people think that they are not ‘worth enough’ to need a will. But most of us in fact own more than we think, taking into account a house or flat, possessions, electronic equipment, vehicles, savings, pension, etc. While you may not own much when starting out in life and at work, as you get into your 30s and 40s, it is often surprising to tot up the value of your assets.
“Everything’s Going To My Family Anyway – Why Do I Need A Will?” – A will lets you decide for yourself who should inherit your estate – if you don’t do it, then the state will decide for you. Even if you intend to leave everything to your husband, wife, partner and/or children, a will can provide for much more than ‘who gets what’. Without a will there would be no provision for: guardianship of young children; bequests to friends or charity; funeral wishes; whether children should inherit at a certain age; and who should be the executor of your estate. You can also arrange things to minimise or avoid tax being payable on your estate.
Another vital point to remember is that if you are not married or in a civil partnership, your partner will not inherit automatically, even if you have lived together for 50 years. Only a will can ensure that your estate goes to the people you want it to.
“I’m Still Young – I’ll Think About It In A Few Years Time” – It’s surprising how many people say that they are not old enough to need a will. The trouble is that life has a habit of throwing up nasty surprises, and none of us knows what’s around the corner.
“I’ll Let The Family Sort Things Out After I’m Gone” – Your family might not thank you for this. No-one coping with bereavement and the grieving process wants to have to make decisions about ‘who gets what’ at the same time. Old family grievances and simmering disputes can easily come to the surface. The last thing you want to do is to provoke a family dispute. It is so much easier simply to implement decisions that have already been taken.
“Making A Will Is Too Complicated And Expensive” – All that you really need to do before making a will is consider what your estate currently consists of, and who you wish to leave it to. You can also think about things like guardianship of children, funeral wishes and who you want to be your executor. The discussion with your solicitor will probably take only 30-40 minutes, and with a fixed fee structure, making a will is affordable for everyone.
“I Already Have A Will – I’m Covered” – It’s good news if you are one of the 1 in 3 people in the country who has a will, but it is wise to review it every few years to check whether it needs to be updated. If you have got married, divorced, or separated since making your will, you will need to check that the will still does what you expect. Marriage, for instance, usually revokes a will entirely. Also, have you had children since making the will? Is your estate now worth much more than it was when you made it?
For more information about making or revising a will, click here.