While we all know it’s something we have to do, many of us put off writing a will, leaving it until later in life. In fact, new research reveals that around 68 per cent of UK adults (27.8 million people) have not made a will.
In spite of their additional responsibilities, parents are no different. The study by Remember a Charity estimates that 54 per cent of mums and dads do not have a will.
It goes without saying that if you have children, you need to organise your will to protect their future. Even though new parents often feel like they have thousands of other things to do, prioritising making a will is important.
Dan Garrett, CEO of the UK’s largest will writer Farewill, gives his three top reasons why every parent needs a will:
1. Secure their financial future
Whatever age your children are, a will sets out exactly how much they’ll inherit. If somebody dies without a will, their estate is divided up following something called the laws of intestacy – a kind of flowchart that defines where money goes.
For most ‘traditional’ families, this works well enough, but for others with less conventional structures – including those with multiple stepchildren – the laws of intestacy aren’t sufficient. In these cases, to make sure everyone gets a fair share, a will is essential.
2. Appoint legal guardians
Most parents assume that if they die, their children will automatically be cared for by a close friend or relative. But unless a will sets out somebody’s wishes explicitly, the courts actually decide what happens to them. Not only can this uncertainty be extremely distressing for the children involved, it can sometimes lead to them being looked after by someone the parents might not have chosen. By specifying your legal guardians in a will, you can make sure they will always be looked after by someone you love and trust.
3. Avoid ambiguity and extra stress
Should the unthinkable happen, dealing with a parent’s estate only adds pressure to what is already a stressful situation. ‘What kind of funeral did they want? Where would they like their ashes scattered? How did they want to divide up their estate? By writing a will, these things are set out clearly and decisions are already made.
As well as setting out who gets what, a will also allows you to list out all your property and accounts in one simple, easy-to-understand document. This helps make sure nothing goes missing in pensions or savings pots after you die – which is all too common. In fact, the average amount lost when someone dies without a will in the UK is a hefty £9,700.
You can write your will quickly and conveniently online with Farewill in as little as 15 minutes for £90 for a single will or £140 for couples. This is less than half of the average cost with a traditional solicitor.