Do I Need a Will if I Don’t Own a House?
30 August 2019
It's a common belief that it's only worthwhile making a Will if you own your own home, or other significant assets. But this isn't the case, because a Will deals with far more than just property ownership. This article explains what your Will can take care of, aside from your assets, and why it could be very important to have one even if you don't own your own home.
Setting Out Your Wishes for Your Loved Ones
A key benefit of making a Will is that it clearly sets out your wishes for your loved ones after you die, so there's no uncertainty when the time comes. This not only covers who should inherit what from you, but also who you would like to take responsibility for dealing with your Estate and who should be responsible for managing any Trusts that arise from your Will.
What's more, you can include specific funeral wishes in your Will, such as whether you would choose to be buried or cremated, what you would like people to wear and even what songs you would like to be played. This can be invaluable in avoiding disagreements between family members who aren't sure what you would have wanted.
Making a Will also gives you an opportunity to explain your choices to your loved ones and to say goodbye to them, by including an optional Letter of Wishes. In your Letter of Wishes you might want to explain why certain individuals have been included or omitted from your Will, or you might simply want to say a few final words to your family. It's entirely up to you.
Who Should Look after Your Children
Even if you don't have any significant assets to speak of, if you have children then it's still very important that you consider making a Will. In your Will you can name one or more people you choose as legal guardians, who can take over the care of your children in the event of your death.
Without this provision, the care of your children would fall into the hands of the authorities. This can bring a lot of uncertainty as well as leaving your children in a state of limbo while the necessary processes are worked through.
If you make a Will naming a legal guardian, then you can talk this through with your chosen guardian in advance to ensure that they are willing to take on the role. You can then be assured that in the event of your death your children can be swiftly taken into the care of someone that you know and trust.
Taking Care of Assets You Could Acquire in the Future
Just because you don't own any significant assets now, doesn't mean that you won't in the future. By making a Will now, you can not only ensure that the points mentioned above are covered, but you can also ensure that the assets that you do own at the time of your death are distributed to your loved ones in the correct way.
You can draft your Will in such a way that it can cover assets that you may own in the future (i.e. after your will has been signed) which end up forming part of your estate upon death. As long as your Will is properly drafted and uses the correct terminology, then it's possible to future proof your will to some extent by setting out a structure within your Will to deal with whatever assets are part of your Estate when you die.
Because life moves on and things change we suggest reviewing your Will at least every 3-5 years. You can then update or amend your Will to ensure that it's still an accurate reflection of your wishes, which we can help with and guide you on when the time comes.