Having children usually changes our outlook on life and make us reorganise our priorities. We suddenly have another life to care for and their needs and wants are usually placed above our own. It’s very easy for us to get caught up in the here and now, worrying over health concerns, education and the like but it is also essential that we plan ahead so that no matter what happens, our children are safe and provided for. We asked our friends at Telford Wills to tackle the tricky subject of making a will.
Making a Will is a subject that we all, naturally, try to avoid. Talking about death is not something any of us like to do but if you can consider the consequences of not having a Will, you will realise that it is essential and crucial to face up to doing it.
Some Potentially Shocking Facts
- More than 70% of British adults have not made a Will
- A Will is the ONLY way to ensure that your estate (all your property, money and possessions) is handled as you would want on death
- Intestacy laws (the law that governs what happens to your estate if you die with no Will) do not necessarily mean your spouse will get everything
- A survey by Foresters Friendly Society and ICM has found that 77% of parents with children under 5 have not made a Will
- If no guardians are appointed via a Will your children will be taken into care and the COURTS will decide with whom they live
Not having a Will is an enormous risk especially where the fate of young children is involved.
What’s the Worst That Can Happen?
I know it’s a tough thing to do (I am a Mum myself) but imagine you and your spouse die in a car accident. Your children are left orphaned. Your children are heartbroken and devastated at the loss of both their parents and they are trying to come to terms with losing you and facing life without you. You’d not got round to making a Will as you’re too young and not likely to die while your children are still little, or you’ve just not had time to get around to it, or you think it’s too time consuming, too complicated or too costly. Your children will become the responsibility of the Courts. Complete strangers who do not know you or your children. The Courts will decide who they think the children should live with.
The Courts will do their best to find a family member who will take responsibility for the children but this might not be who you want it to be. You only have one sister and you fell out ten years ago and haven’t spoken to each other since – is this who you want to bring up your children – the Aunt that your children have never met? Surely this is not the legacy you want for your children?
What Other Advantages Are There In Making A Will?
Not only can you do all that is possible to ensure that your children are looked after but you can also ensure that financial arrangements for the children’s upbringing are set out.
Of course it also means that you can organise the rest of your estate too, for example:
- confirm who you want to administer your estate when you have gone and to ensure it is dealt with as you want it to be
- ensure that particular personal items you have that have financial or sentimental value are given to the people you want to have them
- you can leave monetary gifts to certain people or to charities
- you can make plans to reduce or avoid Inheritance Tax
- ensure that someone who lives in your home but is not a legal owner can continue to reside there
- you can ensure that your online identity is removed or looked after as you would want it too
A Will is a very useful document for ensuring that when you do die, YOU have control over your estate including passing on the responsibility for your children.
Your family is probably the most precious thing in the world to you. Ensure that you continue to look after them when you are gone by taking away some of the stresses involved. Make a Will today to ensure that your children are protected.
The author of this article is Ruth Jarvis, a Shropshire Mum of four (aged from 4-9). Ruth is a Chartered Legal Executive and runs her own business writing Wills and Powers of Attorney and dealing with the administration of people’s estates when they die. Find out more at www.telfordwills.co.uk