Why you should create your will – sooner rather than later

Posted by / May 26, 2020

There’s an important question that many are reluctant to consider. But it’s important nonetheless. Here it comes: what do you want to happen after you die?

After you pass away, everything you’ve worked for: your wealth, your property, your possessions — what happens to them? 

If you’ve not written a will, then the truth is that this is entirely out of your hands. A death without a will can create a difficult situation, at a time that’s already very hard for your loved ones. Despite this, surveys show that nearly two-thirds of Britons don’t have a will in place.

It’s natural to avoid difficult decisions about our inevitable fate, but it really is best to be prepared. It’s time to break the taboo around wills. This article should help you realise why writing a will is something to embrace, rather than shy away from.

What exactly is a will?

Your ‘will’ or, to give it its full name, your ‘Last Will and Testament’ is a legal document that details how your estate (your money, property and possessions) will be distributed after your death. It also gives details on funeral arrangements, the specification of guardians, the creation of trusts, the bestowment of gifts and more.

What happens if you die without a will?

Those that die without a will leave no legal indication of their post-mortem wishes.  This means that even if you’d always promised your best friend those coveted golf clubs, he’d have no claim over them in the eyes of the law. 

Instead, the possessions of those that die without a will are distributed according to the laws of intestacy. These laws are strict and are based on family ties and marriage, varying depending on whether the deceased had children or was married, divorced and so on.

For example, if someone died who was married with children, the first £250,000 of the estate would pass entirely to the spouse or civil partner, then the remainder would be divided two-ways between the spouse and the children. So in this situation, the spouse would receive more than all of the children put together. Unsurprisingly, arrangements like this often lead to ugly squabbles within families that can cause deep and lasting rifts.

Who would want to leave that as their legacy?

Another problem with the laws of intestacy is that foster children, stepchildren or unmarried partners do not receive a thing – regardless of the closeness of them to the deceased. Then there’s the burden of funeral arrangements. And the question of what happens to property, such as a family home. Or what happens to pets left behind. Things can get very messy, very quickly. 

Who should make a will?

Well, the truth is that anyone, of any age, could benefit from writing a will. Obviously, it’s unlikely that most of us will be meeting our maker any time soon, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. It’s a relatively low-cost service that gives you peace of mind and has great benefits when it needs to be used.    

What can you put in your will?

The primary reason for making a will is to choose who receives your wealth, property and possessions after you pass. You can make sure that those you care about most are provided for and ensure that no one, such as unmarried partners or stepchildren, miss out.

You’ll also be able to make arrangements for your funeral, appoint an ‘executor’ (not as scary as it sounds) to carry out your administrative wishes, name a legal guardian for your dependent(s) and make sure any property that you own goes to the right people.

Then there’s pets, digital assets like photos and music, charitable donations (which can be exempt from inheritance tax) and so on. Creating a will can also mean that you pay less inheritance tax by giving money to those who will be taxed the least, such as your spouse and children.

There’s no time like the present

Good news. PG Mutual has partnered with one of the UK’s leading will writing companies, Redstone Wills. If you are a PG Mutual policyholder you can secure an incredible discount on their fees, worth up to £180 in some cases. You can find out more about what’s on offer here.

Go Back