Do I need a will?

Making a will is an important step in every adult’s life.  Wills make things less complicated for those you leave behind.  They make processing your estate (applying for “Probate”) much less expensive.  An estate without a will typically costs thousands of pounds more to process than where there is a will in place.  A will also allows you set out who you want to receive your estate and who you want to look after your wishes.

If you don’t have a will then the state will make lots of assumptions. Firstly the state will choose who your executor should be.  If you are unmarried and your parents are alive then the State will assume that your parents will act.  This could put some unpleasant pressure on your parents at what will be a very upsetting time for them.

Secondly the State will make an assumption of who you want to receive any value from your estate.  You get no say in who your beneficiaries should be.  Note that if no living close relatives can be found then all of the value of your estate goes to the Crown Estate and will probably end up with HMRC.  You may rather make a gift to your favourite charity.

Finally – you may want to set out other wishes such as who will care for a pet, gifts to friends or charities, or other wishes.  If you don’t have these in a legally binding will then your wishes may not be carried out.

Everyone should review their wills following any major life change and also at least every 3 to 5 years. If the will is out of date, you should write a new will to reflect your new circumstances.