Why everyone needs a Will, now not later!

The shortest ever valid Will read “Vse zene” meaning “All to wife” in Czech. It was written and dated 19 January 1967 by Herr Karl Tausch of Langen, Hessen, West Germany. The longest ever valid Will was made by Mrs. Frederica Evelyn Stilwell Cook on 2 November 1925. The Will had 95,940 words in four bound volumes.

A youGov survey found that almost ⅔ of UK adults do not have a Will. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau reports increased enquiries in relation to Intestacy (where some one dies without a Will). One in ten in a recent Cancer Research survey admitted that they planned to update their existing Wills to include children and grandchildren, but had not done so yet. Why are we so bad at planning for one of the few certainties in life? There are many advantages to making a Will, but here are my top three reasons for all people over the age of 18 to have a Will.

1. You appoint someone to deal with your matters

If you die without a Will, the person entitled under the Intestacy rules will inherit all your possessions (in the order and to the value set out it in the Intestacy rules). This may mean that your husband or wife inherits your things, but it could mean that your mum or aunt Lily is sorting through things you would rather they did not. If you appoint Executors, you can nominate anyone you chose to deal with your estate.

2. You can appoint Guardians for your children

If you have children, making sure they are provided for is often a top priority in life. It can continue to be a priority after death, with a Will. You can nominate guardians to take care of children, set out your wishes as to their ongoing care and schooling and provide a trust fund to provide for them and perhaps any potential grandchildren in due course. The terms of the trust can reflect your own wishes in respect of the age that children can get control of funds, which may be older than the 18 years, that would be the case under intestacy.

3. If you have a Will, your estate may not need to go through probate

A grant of probate is a document issued by the probate registry to confirm that the Will is executed correctly and that the named executors are entitled to receive the deceased’s assets. For some assets, such as land, houses and high value shareholdings, a grant of probate is almost always needed. For estates without such assets and modest bank balances, banks and other asset holders may release the funds or assets to executors on sight of the Will, without the need for the costs of applying for a grant of probate.

If you would like to discuss your options for Wills, Estate Planning or Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact Amanda Smith on 01905 730 450 or e-mail asmith@thursfields.co.uk

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