10 reasons why you should make a willDon't leave your estate at risk by dying intestate

26 October 2011

Making a will allows you to express your final wishes clearly. 

Half the population hasn't made a will. To mark Write a Will Week, we highlight 10 reasons why you should make one sooner rather than later.

Surveys show that people put off making a will, often until they're in their 50s. Three-quarters of the population have a will in place by the time they are 65, but that still leaves a sizeable number uncovered, not to mention those who die young.

Around 60,000 estates each year are ‘intestate’ (ie there's no valid will in place) - almost 25% of the annual total. Making a will stops your heirs joining this number and makes sure your wishes are carried out when it comes to who inherits what.

Making a will

1. A will lets you leave clear instructions about how your estate is to be distributed. Without one it is subject to the intestacy rules and may not go to the people you would have chosen.

2. A will lets you choose your own executors. If you die without one, your closest relatives will need to apply for ‘letters of administration’.

3. A will lets you appoint guardians to look after your children if they are under 18, until they come of age. You can also make financial arrangements for their benefit.

4. A will allows you to make specific bequests to individuals. These can range from items of jewellery to sums of cash.

5. If you have remarried, a will can ensure any children from your first marriage get a share of your estate.

Not making a will

6. Unmarried partners may not receive anything from your estate, unless you have made a will in their favour.

7. If your estate is divided according to the intestacy rules, your spouse or civil partner may not receive as much as you would have intended them to. Our intestacy tool will help you see who gets what if you die without making a will.

8. If you die without leaving a will and have no spouse or children, your parents or siblings may inherit your estate, even if you’d prefer it to go elsewhere.

9. The absence of a will can sometimes lead to family disputes.

10. Without a will, your family could face a larger inheritance tax bill than necessary as a will can help with the tax-planning process.. 

More on this...