Have You Made a Will?

21 January 2016

Making a Will is often at the bottom of our to do list and there are many very good reasons for this – too young, it costs too much money, it's too complicated and so on, but there can be a negative impact on your family if you don't plan for the end of your life.

Independent research carried out on behalf of Co-op Legal Services and Co-op Funeralcare shows that people are generally unwilling to plan for the end of their life with only 40% of adults in the UK having made a Will. Of those who have made a Will, 20% left writing a Will until they were over 55 years old; although most people averaged at about 42 years old. Perhaps an even more surprising statistic is that 83% of people over 65 have not made any plans for their funeral.

Many people feel that end of life planning feels morbid and fatalistic, but by spending time considering your Will, your wishes for end of life care and your funeral, you can ensure that the people you love that you leave behind are protected.

Some life events that focus our minds to consider planning for the future:

  • Getting married
  • Having a child
  • Reaching a milestone birthday
  • Death of a relative
  • Buying a property

Even though these are major life events, statistics from the research gathered shows that the most common reason for making a Will was a milestone birthday – 26% of the people survey said that their milestone birthday made them actually get their Will written.

This is compared to only 19% of people who made a Will once they had a child, despite the fact that having no Will in place could have a serious impact on the future of their child if they died. Just 16% of people who bought a property were triggered into making their Will even though without a Will, their property may not be distributed as they wished, by survivorship or by the Rules of Intestacy.

Writing a Will is not the end of the story though – you need to ensure that it is kept up to date and that it accurately reflects your current circumstances and wishes. In addition to life events driving the making of a Will, they also drive changes and updates to a Will. Some of the most common reasons to update a Will are:

  1. Arrival of a grandchild
  2. Reaching a milestone birthday
  3. Birth of a child
  4. Death of a relative
  5. Buying a property
  6. Getting divorced or separated
  7. Receiving an inheritance
  8. Getting married again
  9. Health problems or issues
  10. Getting married

Many of these are the same as the reasons to make a Will in the first place, however it is easy to think that because you have a Will in place that you are protected but this is simply not true.

Getting remarried can mean that step children are now part of the family and therefore need to be added into your Will and in fact your new circumstances of having a wife should be reflected.

The Rules of Intestacy can be particularly difficult when applied to blended families, as step children may have to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 if they were dependants. There are strict deadlines for making these applications though and this can cause additional stress and worry at an already very difficult time.

Aside from the issues around protecting your family from the stress and hassle of having to deal with intestacy, making sure that your wishes will be carried out after you die is important. Making specific gifts or donations to charity in your Will can make a big difference after you have gone - £2 billion each year goes to UK charities from legacies in Wills, making up 13% of all donations to charity.

Whilst making sure your Will is made and up to date is really important, you should also let your loved ones know where your Will is kept. If something does happen they know where to find it, or at least who to ask. It is no use having a Will if no-one can find it!

Making a Will with Co-op Legal Services is a simple task and even includes free storage for your lifetime. We're here to help you from 9am until 8pm and the appointment will usually last about an hour and with fixed prices starting at £150 including VAT for a single Will, why put it off any longer?

Whether you want to make a Will or update a Will, call our specialist Will Writing team on 03306069591 or contact us online and we will help you.

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