How many of you have made a will? You probably think that it’s something you don’t need to worry about for a long long time. Well, hopefully not! But a couple of hours spent organising a will can save so much time and upset. It need not be a costly exercise if matters are fairly straightforward, and it will certainly make things far easier for those left behind.
Please note that I am writing from a UK perspective, so although the advice should still apply generally, do comment if anything doesn’t apply in the US.
1. All Clear
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Your wishes are made clear. You can make arrangements for your children, your property, possessions and funeral. Morbid? No, sensible and practical.
At a time when loved ones are dealing with the loss, they don’t want the problems that come with sorting out an estate where there is no will. A properly organised will removes one source of stress at a very difficult time.
3. No Arguments
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Well, you can’t necessarily avoid this one, but if a will is valid then relatives will have to like it or lump it. Often people think they are morally entitled to inherit from a relative, but if you don’t want to leave money to family members then you don’t have to.
4. There Are Two Certainties …
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… death and taxes. Most people don’t like to face their own mortality; my view is that it’s going to happen sooner or later (preferably later), so it’s best to deal with the inevitable. Making a will is part of that.
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If you (or your relatives) have property, valuable possessions or savings, getting some legal advice can be a very wise move. You can have a will drawn up that makes the best of any tax allowances and ensures that your loved ones are taken care of.
6. Mistakes Cause Problems
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I speak from sad experience when I say that you can be wrong about what will happen if you die without a will. I had a family member who was convinced he knew what would happen to his estate in the event of his death. He was wrong, and although the consequences were not severe, there were repercussions that continue to this day.
7. Do Good
If you have a favourite charity or cause, you can make a bequest in your will. This can reduce the tax liability of your estate. Also you can thus make a sizeable donation (if you have it!) – many charities derive a good part of their income from bequests.
If you know someone who has not made a will, try to tactfully raise the issue. Don’t forget that your will may need updating from time to time, as your circumstances change.
Top Photo Credit: lomokev