Will, When and Why?

2016 has seen many of our favourite stars leaving us and some, like Prince and Caroline Aherne, departing this world well before their time. This acts as a reminder to reflect on our own mortality and get our affairs in order so that, should the worst happen, our family and friends know how important they were to us – legalmatters offers advice about when is the right time to write a will…

Writing a will is a sensible idea for everyone over the age of 18 – otherwise chaos can ensue amongst a family when a loved one passes. Look at the drama over Prince’s $300 million estate – the star died intestate (without a will) and now DNA testing is taking place to determine the identity of people claiming to be his blood relatives.

Your estate might not be worth $300 million, but protecting your legacy is still important. So what are the life stages that trigger writing a will among the British public?

Anyone aged over 18 and of sound mind can write a will but there are common junctures when people arrange an appointment with a solicitor and put pen to paper. Buying a house is a trigger – one in eight people in England and Wales cohabit with a partner they aren’t married to. Nevertheless, in the event of one partner dying intestate, the other could find that, rather than their partner’s share of the property passing to them, it could be distributed among relatives.

(Surprisingly almost 70% of cohabiting couples don’t have a will, according to research by Will Aid.)

Marriage is obviously another popular time for people to make a will, as is the birth of a child. At the opposite end of the spectrum, divorce is a life occurrence that prompts people to reassess their wills.

Growing older forces people to confront their mortality too. According to the Will Aid research, the older an individual, the more likely they are to have written a will. In the oldest age group of 75 and over, 90% of people had written wills, 74% of the 65-74 age group had done so, and 47% of 45-54 year olds had formally set out their last wishes.

Official government advice on writing a will – is worth bearing in mind – to review it every five years.

Whatever stage you are at in your life, and however small or large your estate, it seems the time to write a will is now. It’s inexpensive and the process will bring peace of mind to you and your loved ones, whether you’re buying your first home with a partner, celebrating the birth of a child or collecting your pension for the first time. We have helped thousands of clients protect their legacies, so for advice on how to safeguard yours, call us now on 01243 216900 or email us at info@legalmatters.co.uk.

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