A question that is often asked is ‘when is the best time to write a will?’ It is one of those tasks that people think about, but keep putting off, telling themselves that they will eventually get around to writing one. If you don’t make a will then this can have a significant impact on your loved ones, so it is advisable to start thinking about making a will. This information should help you to decide whether it is the right time for you to write a will:
What age can you write a will?
Legally anyone aged 18 and above is able to write a will, although soldiers on active duty are able to make a will at any age.
When should you make a will?
There is no set age when it is best to make a will; it is more a case of the right time in your life. If you have a positive net worth, or an item or asset that you value, and you want to make sure that it goes to the person or people that you choose, then you should make a will.
Many people decide to make a will when there is a change in their life, such when they get married or have children. It is also common for people to make a will (or update their current one) if they separate from someone.
Marriage revokes a will and so it is particularly important that you consider making, or remaking, your will after you have married.
People with health concerns, or with a history of early mortality in their family, often decide to make a will earlier than the average person.
What happens if you don’t have a will?
One fact that people are not generally aware of is that if you are not married or in a civil partnership, your partner has no right to inherit your assets unless you have a will in place that state that you want to leave your assets to your partner. The law states that, if you have no will, your children, other family members, or the Crown, will inherit your assets. Your unmarried partner will get nothing.
How to make a will
Making a will does not have to be complicated and the amount of work largely depends on how straightforward your wishes are. Here are some of the steps of making a will:
- The first step in making a will is to make a list of all of your assets, including property, valuable belongings and any sentimental items that you might want to leave to a specific person.
- Once you have a list of your assets, the next step is to value your estate. You need to understand how much your assets are worth and so you should put a value on everything from your house or flat, to your financial accounts, to your jewellery and other belongings in order to have a better idea of the value that you are leaving.
- Next, you need to decide to whom you want to leave your estate. You might be leaving everything to one person, or you could be dividing your assets amongst family and friends. You may even consider leaving donations to charities or other organisations.
- You then need to choose the executors of your will. These are the people that will ensure that your wishes are carried out.
- Now you are ready to write your will. Most people choose to ask a specialist solicitor to take care of the legal requirements and to give them advice on points that they have overlooked, the more complex details of their estate, inheritance tax and estate planning.