Why you need to write a Will in 2018

By Lenore Rice

 

Research on the number of adults in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK who have not written a Will regularly suggest that somewhere between 50 and 70 per cent of us have yet to put our final wishes into writing.

Writing a Will is a relatively inexpensive exercise, and most people are of the opinion that it is something they should do, however the majority of us regularly allow the year to pass without following through on our good intentions to make a Will, or update an old one. The reluctance among adults in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK to write a Will is not particularly complicated or mysterious. The main reasons cited by people for not writing a Will are either that they didn't think they had enough assets to make it worth making a Will, or they began the process and found it a bit too 'doom and gloom', and decided they had plenty of time left.

There are some obvious benefits of making a Will regardless of how small or large your assets are.

 

Dying intestate

While dying without a written Will can sometimes result in your assets passing the way you would have intended them to anyway, it is not always the case. This is known as dying intestate. If you are in a civil partnership or are cohabiting your partner may end up with nothing if you have not made your intentions clear in a written Will.

Also, if you have no living relatives the Crown may end up taking your estate rather than it passing on to friends or anyone else you could have specified as a beneficiary in a written Will.

 

Parents

Parents in particular you should aim to write a Will as quickly as possible, not only from the point of view of how their assets should be divided, but also to specify who you would want to appoint as guardian of your children in the event that something should happen to both parents.

With two sets of grandparents and two lines of family in the background, it might not be obvious who should become guardian of your children in the event of the death of both you and your partner. If there is no written Will specifying your wishes in this regard an application would need to be made to the court, and in the event of a dispute, the court would have to decide who the children should live with.

 

Avoiding an unnecessary Inheritance Tax bill

Your estate could be hit with an unexpected Inheritance Tax bill if you did not take the opportunity to use the different allowances that exist, in particular, the £100,000 allowance in respect of the sale of a family home on death if you have passed it to your children or grandchildren.

The government received 18.7 per cent more in inheritance tax in the current tax year, and recent research by Drewberry has suggested that 87 per cent of adults in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK intending to pass on assets to their family have not made any considerations about inheritance tax planning.

 

Peace of Mind

Given the different considerations above, there are a number of very important reasons for making a Will in 2018. Wills can be written at very little cost and from the convenience of your own home, via different online or postal services. That being the case, the best reason for writing a Will is the peace of mind you can have by knowing that your intentions have been put in writing and can be relied on in the event of your death.

If you decide that now is the time write a Will, or update an old one, do some research to find a solicitor specialising in Will writing, and ideally one who can give you advice on trusts, inheritance tax and related issues.

To contact one of the Will writing solicitors at Wilson Nesbitt in Bangor or Belfast click here.