top 10 reasons you might need a will

I was at a Networking Meeting recently and a lady asked me ‘Why would I need a Will?  What times in my life should I think about it?”

Great question!

So, here’s my list of the top 10 times you might need our services;

  • You turn 18 – OK, slightly facetious one to start with, but for most people that’s the earliest they can make a Will, so why not draft it over your first legal pint?
  • You move in with someone – Renting or buying, it’s usually a sign that this relationship might be going somewhere.  If you’re serious enough about them to want to share a washing up rota, you might want to protect them in your Will. Unmarried couples don’t have the same protection under intestacy (see glossary) as married folk.
  • You have children – This one should be a no-brainer.  In your Will, if you have children under 18, you make provision for how they will be cared for in the event of your death.  You appoint Guardians who will continue to bring your kids up.  You can leave instructions for them, and you can choose to leave a gift of money for them if they carry out their duties.
  • You get married – If you had a Will before marriage, the chances are, it’s now invalid! Of course, if you’re reading this with a view to getting married, we can draft your Will with a contemplation of marriage clause that legalises it.  Seriously, the law does afford you a bit of protection once you’re married in terms of intestacy, in that your spouse gets the first £250k, but you probably still want to take a look at your Estate Planning.  Intestacy Rules don’t account for previous children, step-kids, Inheritance Tax Planning …..
  • You make significant purchases – You bought a rental property – Get a Will!
  • You separate – THIS is the most significant one so far.  The same rules of Intestacy apply – your spouse gets the first £250k, and half of everything left over.  Your soon to be ex is still your spouse until the Decree Absolute comes through.  Is that what you want?
  • You remarry – Especially where this creates a ‘blended family’ situation, and things like habitation of a previous marital home can come into play.  You probably need to take a look at things from a new perspective,
  • You inherit – The IHT threshold is getting a lot closer for a lot of people!  An inheritance can push you way over that threshold.  You should automatically review your circumstances at this point.
  • You are bereaved – The loss of a loved one is a sad time, and I’m not suggesting that you engage a Will Writer immediately.  Due to IHT spousal transfer though, you may have inherited from your Husband, Wife or Civil Partner, and may now have a future Inheritance Tax Liability.  You may also simply want to revisit your planning now that quite possibly your first choice beneficiary has passed.
  • You get ill – This is the last one on the list. For many people, this is the first time they stop and consider their own mortality, the inevitability of life and death, and what they might want to do to help their loved ones once they’re gone.  We often see people at this time. As much as we love helping folk in this situation, it’s much nicer for all to make it 10 years before you get ill.  I know you don’t know when that will be, so do it now!

You might notice that Divorce isn’t on the list.  Unless a very rare clause has been used in your previous Will, your ex-spouse is automatically ignored in your Will.  They are in fact treated as if they are dead.  You may want to have a look just to make sure, but it is unlikely that they will benefit.

Of course, there are many other reasons for making a Will – these are just some seminal life events where the need might become greater.  We’re always happy to take a look at your current arrangements and review their suitability for you right now.  We make no charge for this service.

At Thoughtful Planning we have a range of services that give you Peace of Mind throughout the life cycle.  From Powers of Attorney, to Funeral Plans, Estate Administration and Wills, our Estate Planning service is small, friendly, and cares.  Contact us to see how we can help.


Also published on Medium.