They say the only things certain in life are death and taxes.
If you care about your family and your dependents you need a Will. Your Will is only important after you die. At that time, it is read to your beneficiaries and they will find out whether they inherit any of your assets or not.
You do not really need a Will for yourself; it is your family and dependents that need you to make a Will. Your Will enables you to provide for them.
Here are some of the things you can do if you have a Will that should give you peace of mind:
- Appoint guardians to care for any minor children that you have who are under the age of eighteen. For example you can nominate your sister to be your child’s legal guardian, rather than your child being cared for by someone that you do not want to care for them or someone that you do not think will bring them up with your values. It is important to remember to discuss this with any potential guardians prior to appointing them.
- In your Will you can provide maintenance to your dependents by making a cash or lump sum gift to them, or payments upon them reaching certain milestones such as the age of eighteen or twenty one or thirty.
- You can leave specific items such as jewellery and heirlooms to certain family members who you know would appreciate them and take care of them.
- You can leave a life interest in your property for your partner to live in until they die and then ensure that your children inherit the family home after your partner passes away thereby looking after both your partner (ensuring they do not become homeless) and your children. It’s worth noting however that this does depend on your situation and how your home is owned; for example solely, jointly or tenants in common.
- You can leave the residue of your estate divided into parts amongst your children or grandchildren.
- You can provide for hassle free funeral arrangements, decisions regarding burial or cremation and leave instructions as to what specific things you want in your ceremony so that there is less stress for your family.
- You can give directions about assets that you control; for example companies and trusts and advise if you want children to inherit your shares.
- You can nominate executors who you want to administer your estate. For example if you think there might be disagreement or difficulties and bickering amongst your beneficiaries you can nominate an independent third party such as a lawyer or accountant or trusted friend to administer your estate. You could also nominate for example more than one beneficiary (such as your children jointly) to administer your estate.
If you die without a Will, put simply you cannot ensure that your assets go to your family and dependants in the way that you would want them to inherit.
Your assets will be divided in accordance with the rules of intestacy and may not benefit your dependants in the way you want them to benefit, or worse still they might go to an estranged family member who has not been a part of your life and does not need your consideration after you pass away.