Ten Good Reasons to Make a Will

By Keith Johnston, Tax Director, Armstrong Watson Northallerton

WHAT do Abraham Lincoln, Howard Hughes, Pablo Picasso and Jimi Hendrix all have in common? Apart from being famous, they all died without making a will. However, it’s not just the rich and famous that don’t get around to making a will. Recent research indicates that more than 50 per cent of UK adults don’t have a will, yet making a will is the only way to ensure your estate goes to those you wish to benefit and in the most tax efficient way.

Here are ten good reasons to make a valid will:

n A will allows you to set out how your assets are left after your death and to appoint executors who you trust to make sure your wishes are carried out;

n If you die without a Will the law sets out how your estate is divided under the intestacy rules regardless of what your supposed intentions may have been;

n Unmarried couples are particularly vulnerable if there is no will as unmarried partners have no automatic entitlement to their partner’s assets;

n A will is important at any stage of adult life and is not just for the elderly or people in ill health;

n Certain life events such as marriage, divorce or birth of a child can affect the validity and relevance of your will;

n Protect your family by appointing legal guardians for your children if you die before they are 18;

n Provide for step children or any other dependents who won’t automatically benefit if there is no will;

n A tax efficient will can save Inheritance Tax;

n Use a will to set aside funds for your children’s future or to set up a family trust;

n Decide who should look after your dog, cat or other pet if you pass away.

Quite simply, making a will is the only way to ensure that your estate is left to the people you want to benefit. If you haven’t already done it, don’t put it off any longer. Writing a will is one of the most important pieces of planning you may ever do for your family.

For assistance with Inheritance Tax planning when considering your will, please call 0808 144 5575 or email keith.johnston@armstrongwatson.co.uk.