Having an up-to-date will is the best way of ensuring your wishes are followed when you are no longer here, but it also takes a lot of the stress off your loved ones at an already challenging time. In this article, we look at five ways having a will helps your loved ones after you pass.
In simple terms, leaving a will makes it easier for your loved ones and those who would have to make those important decisions in your absence. It provides direction, guidance and certainty over what you would have wanted to happen and will give them comfort that your wishes are being followed.
When drafting your will, you will have the opportunity to nominate an ‘executor’. This is an important role, and you should carefully consider who you will choose. You should nominate someone you trust and ensure they are aware of and appreciate the responsibility of the job they will be taking on.
An executor will be responsible for managing and distributing your estate to your chosen beneficiaries. If you do not choose an executor in your will, the court will select one for you. If this happens, they may not select who you would have wanted, so it is important to have a will and choose your executor.
It is also advisable to either name a co-executor to assist in administering the estate or if only one executor is named, a substitute executor who can step in if your first choice can’t act.
Drafting a will allows you to include instructions for your funeral arrangements. While these are not legally binding, this can take a great deal of stress and decision making from your loved ones. You might consider suggestions for the service, music, location, and final resting place, and whether you’d like to be buried or cremated.
Disputes are common, and you know your family better than anyone and whether there might be conflict between them over your estate when you die, particularly if there is no will. Making a will minimises the chances of this happening - choosing exactly how you would like your estate to be distributed.
If you die without a will (intestate), your estate may be distributed in a way you would not have intended. Blended families, like stepchildren and unmarried partners, have no automatic legal right to any portion of your estate. If you are not married or in a civil partnership, the only way to leave your property is to make a will.
Making a will that provides for those most important to you gives them the security that they will be looked after even after you are gone.
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The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.