Research reveals nearly half of Britons over 55 do not have a will.
Today, we’re diving into a topic that might not be on the top of your mind but is incredibly important—making a will.
Specifically, we’ll be talking about why making a will is crucial for men in the UK and the process involved. Let’s get started!
First things first, let’s understand why making a will matters. A will is a legal document that ensures your wishes are carried out after you die. It’s not just for the elderly or the wealthy—it’s for everyone, regardless of age or financial status. By making a will, you have control over how your assets are distributed and can provide financial security for your loved ones.
Guys, the reality is that we often find ourselves shouldering the responsibility of being providers and protectors for our families. Making a will is an extension of that responsibility. It allows you to provide for and protect your loved ones even after you’re gone.
Making a Will provides certainty should you die unexpectedly. You have the power while living to decide who gets what—whether it’s your family, friends, or even charitable organizations. A Will also helps to minimize potential conflicts among family members, providing clarity and reducing stress during an already difficult time.
The process of making a will
Now, let’s delve into the process of making a will. In the UK, there are specific legal requirements to create a valid will. I strongly believe that it’s crucial to seek professional legal advice to ensure everything is done correctly. A solicitor or a will-writing professional can guide you through the process, making sure your will is legally sound and reflects your intentions.
What to consider when making a will:
When making a will, you’ll need to consider several key elements. First, appoint an executor— the person who will carry out your wishes and handle the administrative tasks. In my case, I chose to appoint the solicitor as the executor as they will be an independent and, therefore, unbiased decision-maker. The solicitor I use makes no initial charge for being appointed executor, and they take their fee from the estate.
The estimated cost, at today’s rates, to act as executor for my personal assets and to arrange the dissolution of my Limited Company (which will be billed to my Company) is around £1200 to £1500.
Next, you’ll need to name your beneficiaries— the individuals or organizations who will inherit your assets. It’s essential to be clear and specific in your instructions to avoid any confusion.
What was involved:
- My solicitor sent me a list of ‘To-Dos’ to prepare for our first meeting and a list of valid IDs I could take with me.
- We then had a one-hour meeting in the solicitor’s office and put together a plan, using the To-Do list to make sure nothing had been forgotten.
- Ten days later, I received a draft to read and comment upon by email.
- Five days later, we had our second meeting at the solicitor’s office, where my Will was signed and witnessed… Job done!
Now, let’s address some specific considerations.
Blended families are very common in today’s society, and if you have a blended family or children from previous relationships, it’s vital to carefully outline your intentions to avoid potential disputes.
This was the main issue that led me to appoint the solicitor as my executor, as I have sons from two marriages, and using an independent and unbiased executor will reduce the risk of fallouts between my sons at what can be an emotional time.
Additionally, if you have dependents such as minor children or disabled family members, you can make provisions for their well-being and financial security through your will.
A Will should, ironically, be seen as a living document:
Remember, making a will is not a one-time event. Life is ever-changing, and so are our circumstances. It’s crucial to regularly review and update your will to reflect any significant life events such as marriages, divorces, births, or changes in your financial situation. Keep your will up-to-date to ensure it accurately represents your wishes.
Now, let’s address some common questions and concerns. One misconception is that making a will is a complex and expensive process. While seeking professional advice does have associated costs, think of it as a worthwhile investment. A valid and well-drafted will save your loved ones time, money, and potential legal battles in the future. Alternatively, you can create a will online at sites like: https://www.makingawill.org.uk/ for around £30. The will is checked for errors by a Will Writer and is a legal document, once signed and witnessed.
Costs of creating a Will:
My will was professionally drawn up by a qualified solicitor that specializes in Estate Planning. The total fee in 2020 was £180, including VAT. Not so expensive when you consider what it does for your family.
It is possible and perfectly legal to buy a will template, provided that you follow the instructions about signature and witnessing. Currently, an up-to-date will pack can be bought from Amazon for £11.99.
How to make a will for free:
Additionally, many charities will prepare your will free of charge in return for a donation to the charity from your estate. This can be an excellent way of helping a charity after your death and safeguarding the disposal of your estate as per your wishes.
There really is no financial impediment to creating a will.
The alternative is to die without a will, known as dying intestate, which can lead to complications. In such cases, English law dictates how your assets will be distributed, which may not match your wishes and can add ill-feeling and delays. So, take control and make your own decisions through a properly executed will.
Currently, the rules of intestacy follow a set hierarchy of who should benefit from the estate.
This is currently the order of intestacy:
- Spouse or civil partner
- Brothers and sisters
- Uncles and aunts
Whilst there is no hard and fast rule, full dispersal of an estate where a Will is in place can take something like 4 to 9 months. Whereas, when someone dies intestate, it is more like 6 to 12 months.
Some of us may leave a legacy that keeps our life in the minds of others: People like Elvis Presley, Princess Diana, etc. but most of us will fade into oblivion in all but the closest of our family and friends.
I know someone who has just never found the time and is not overly bothered about making a will. They have two adult children, one of whom has four children, and the other is childless. There is a lot of drama and strife within the family. I talked to them about the importance of making a will, and the response was along the lines of “Well, I won’t be here, so it won’t be my problem!” I don’t understand this mindset because, to me, simplifying things for my kids is part of my legacy.
See our article entitled: What did you learn from your father?
Too young to have a will?
I created my Will when I was 60, but had already lost friends unexpectedly, and my work had put me in situations where my risk of being killed was higher than my 9 to 5 office colleagues. I should have done this 30 years sooner!
Interestingly, once I had signed my Will, I felt a huge weight lift from me. I instantly became less stressed and felt happier knowing that I had done it… At last!
The most important consideration when getting started with making a will is don’t procrastinate!
It’s never too early to begin this important task. Find a reputable solicitor or will-writing service to guide you through the process. They have the expertise to help you navigate English law and ensure your will is legally binding.
Q: Why is it important to make a will?
A: Making a will is important because it allows you to ensure your wishes are carried out after you pass away. It provides control over how your assets are distributed and offers financial security for your loved ones.
Q: Is making a will specifically important for men?
A: While making a will is important for everyone, it holds particular significance for men. As providers and protectors for our families, making a will is an extension of that responsibility, enabling us to continue taking care of our loved ones even after we’re gone.
Q: What are the benefits of making a will?
A: Making a will offers several benefits. Firstly, it allows you to determine how your assets will be distributed, whether among family, friends, or charitable organizations. Additionally, a will helps minimize conflicts within the family, providing clarity and reducing stress during an already difficult time.
Q: Can you just write your own will??
A: People often ask, “Do you need a solicitor to make a will? and while it’s not mandatory, seeking professional legal advice when making a will is highly recommended. Solicitors or will-writing professionals have the expertise to guide you through the process, ensuring your will is legally sound and accurately reflects your intentions.
Q: How often should I update my will?
A: It’s important to regularly review and update your will to reflect significant life events such as marriages, divorces, births, or changes in your financial situation. By keeping your will up-to-date, you ensure that it continues to accurately represent your current wishes.
Q: Is making a will expensive?
A: While there may be associated costs when seeking professional advice, making a will is not necessarily expensive. Consider it a worthwhile investment that can potentially save your loved ones time, money, and potential legal battles in the future.
Q: What happens if I die without a will?
A: Dying without a will, also known as dying intestate, can lead to complications. English law then dictates how your assets will be distributed, which may not align with your wishes. Making a will allows you to retain control and make your own decisions regarding your estate.
Additional reading and useful links
Government Advice Pages:
The Law Society Guidance:
Amazon Will Kit:
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