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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! There are so many reasons to make a will…

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 have no protection under the rules of Intestacy.
  • 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 can choose to leave a gift of money for them if they carry out their duties.
  • You get married (or Civil Partnership) – 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. 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 £270k, but you probably still want to take a look at your Estate Planning. Intestacy rules don’t account for previous children, step-children, Inheritance Tax planning etc…. You getting married without changing your Will may actually leave your children without!
  • 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 that afford some protection to your spouse continue to do so once you are separated. Your estranged spouse gets the first £270,000, and half of everything else. Your soon to be ex is still your spouse until the Decree Absolute lands on the doormat. 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 fresh look at things from your new perspective. Of course the above rules about marriage invalidating a previous Will are still relevant.
  • You inherit – The IHT threshold is getting a lot closer for many of us. 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 you call a Will Writer immediately. Due to Inheritance Tax Spousal Exemption, you may have inherited from your spouse, and may now be creating a future tax issue for yourself, or your children. You may also want to revisit your Estate Planning now that quite possibly your first choice beneficiary has passed. If you have inherited from your parents, equally you will probably need to review your Wills at the very least. A Deed of Variation is almost always worth considering after a bereavement.
  • You get ill – This is the last on today’s list. For many people this is the first time they stop to 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 it is an honour to be able to help folk in this situation, it’s much nicer for all to make it 10 years before you get ill. And as none of us know when that will be – do it now!

You might have noticed that Divorce isn’t on the list. Unless a very rare clause has been used in your previous Will, your ex-spouse is automatically disinherited in your Will. Of course, you should have rewritten your Will when you separated.

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 our Free Will Review service.

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