No one wants to sit down and think about what happens when you die. Having a plan in place can make the difference though. That’s why getting life insurance sorted out can make sense and why getting a Will made can make things a lot easier for your loved ones.
Having to make financial decisions is a part of what happens when someone passes away. These decisions can often be tough without some kind of guidance. However, like life insurance, It doesn’t have to be complicated and can be easy to sort out for most people. Getting a life insurance policy sorted out and getting a Will can often go hand in hand.
Before getting started making a Will, it makes sense to understand exactly what is a Will and how it could potentially help you out.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that you make that details your wishes of what you would like to happen when you die. It can include things like your funeral wishes or how you'd like your estate to divided. This can include deciding how you would like your life insurance policy to be split up among your loved ones. Leaving these decisions to your family can cause stress. A Will is a way of helping to take away this stress from your loved ones.
Why Should You Write a Will?
While there is no explicit law saying that you have to have a Will there are some benefits to having one sorted out. Besides making things easier for your family there are some other benefits like:
- Allowing you to make specific requests about your funeral such as the type of ceremony
- Helping to reduce the amount of inheritance tax you could end up paying
- Setting up a legal guardian for your children which will help secure their future
- Sharing out the money exactly how you would want instead of intestacy laws dictating how things would be shared out.
The great thing to remember about a Will is that getting one together doesn’t have to be a complicated process. We’ll give you a few tips on where to get started with a Will.
Where to Start with a Will
When you’re getting started with a Will you need to know exactly what you want to leave behind. This will mean looking at your assets. Your assets can be your house, savings or anything of value. It can also include looking at your life insurance policy and how much that is worth for your family. Making these decisions can involve sitting down with your loved ones. It’s important to feel confident that you are making the right decision for those people.
One of the most crucial things to understand about a Will is that in order for it to be valid it has to be legally binding. Making sure that your Will is 100% legal is the most important step to getting it sorted. Yet, this doesn’t mean that the Will has to use a lot of legal language or be created on special paper.
Your Will could be valid as long as it:
- Details how your estate should be split up when you pass away
- Was written when you were able to make your own decisions confidently
- Is signed and dated by you in the presence of two adults, independent witnesses, and then signed by the two witnesses in your presence – the witnesses can’t be people who are going to inherit anything from you (or their husband/wife or civil partner
If you feel like your Will could be a little more complicated or that you don’t feel like you can confidently do it yourself there are a few options. There are companies online that offer service that can help you out with both simple and complicated Wills. Of course, they charge money for this service. The costs can range from £144 for a simple Will and up to £300 for something more complex.
If you think that you would need a more specialized type of Will there is always the option of going to a solicitor. The thing to bear in mind here is that this is often the most expensive option costing a minimum of around £500 - £600.
What can happen if you pass away without a Will?
Passing away without a legal Will in place is known as dying ‘intestate’. This can have all sorts of implications for what way your estate is divided up. Rather than having an appointed executor of your Will dividing up your assets, the law will divide up these assets. This can mean your money and possessions going to places that you didn’t expect or want. There are intestacy rules that determine this split. For the specific details on these rules, you should check out the gov.uk website.
Can you make changes to your Will?
Life is full of changes and it makes sense that you might want to make changes to your Will at certain times. You may want to make changes if you have more children or even grandchildren, someone included in your Will passes away or in the case of marriage or divorce. These circumstances could change how you want your estate to be divided up so it’s important to make the changes as soon as you can. You can make these changes with a document known as a ‘Codicil’.
A Codicil works much the same way a Will works. This document is included with your legal Will. It’s written in much the same way as the original Will. It is helpful if you want to make small changes to your Will, rather than paying for an entirely new Will. It’s important to make sure that your Codicil is included along with your Will. If it gets lost it can cause a lot of confusion for your loved ones.
When is the right time to make a Will?
Unfortunately, like with many things in life, there’s no one size fits all answer to this question. One important way to think of it is when you have someone that financially depends on you. So this could be if you have kids, a partner or anyone who might be at risk without you. Like with a life insurance policy, getting a Will sorted out is about protecting your loved ones when you can’t be there. This could realistically be at any stage of our adult lives.
Start Planning for your loved ones with Choozi
Death is never easy to face, no matter when it happens. Being prepared can help to make things easier for the ones you care for most. Much the same way that life insurance can make things easier. Having things taken care of when the time comes can make a huge difference.