It is estimated that 60% of the UK population does not have a Will. The main reason for this seems to be a combination of squeamishness and thinking that “it will never happen to me”. Sadly, it certainly will at some stage! Many people also mistakenly believe that their assets will automatically pass on their death to their loved ones but this is not always the case, particularly if they are not married to those loved ones.
For parents, probably the most important provision in a Will is the appointment of Guardians. These are the people who you decide would be best able to look after your children until the age of 18. This is an agonising decision for parents to make and is often another reason for putting off making Wills. However, many of our clients tell us how relieved they feel once they have taken this step. They know that, in the (hopefully unlikely) event of them both dying while their children are young, their children will be cared for by people that they love and trust.
For the majority of people, ensuring that they provide for their loved ones is of great importance. If a couple is not married, there is no guarantee that a partner will inherit the estate unless there is a Will. It is therefore extremely important in that scenario to make sure that a Will is in place. In the event that both partners/spouses die, their children will inherit. However, by making a Will, you ensure that your children do not automatically inherit at the age of 18 if that is not what you want to happen. Many people feel that 18 is far too young to handle large sums of money, whereas at 21 or 25 it is less likely that they will succumb to peer pressure or decide to buy that beautiful red Ferrari!
Similarly, if someone is unmarried and has not made provision for their partner in a Will, their assets could pass down to their minor children, leaving no provision for their partner. The monies will be held in trust until the children reach the age of 18 whilst the surviving partner, without challenging the estate (an expensive and lengthy business) will not be entitled to anything. The children on the other hand, will inherit at 18, which as stated above, may not be ideal.
Once you have thought about these issues, making a Will is actually quite painless and most definitely to be recommended.