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Where there's a will, there's a way

We know it's a bit morbid, and thinking about your own death is never very pleasant, but it's something which we all need to do sooner rather than later.


The purpose of a will is to establish exactly what happens to your estate when you pass away. There's a lifetime of stuff - belongings, money, property - which needs to be distributed when you're gone. Without a will, not only is it impossible for people to know what you wanted, but it's also difficult for your family to work out who gets what. That's before you start to consider things like funeral costs and charitable donations.


70% Don't Have a Valid Will


Fortunately, you're not like 70% of your friends. They don't have a will and are likely to leave a financial mess for those they leave behind. You have made matters much easier for your family and friends.


Your will is not only completed and up to date, but it is also stored in a bomb proof, water proof, fire proof professional storage unit, belonging to the company that wrote and updated your will. Your executors - the people who will administer your will - know where it is; they will need to get at your documents, but hopefully not for some time. They will need a copy of your death certificate to obtain the file, so the document is safe where it is.


In your will you have made sure that those close to you, partners and children, have been properly taken care of. Your children may need financial help until they are 20 or so; some until they have left university and started work. Even then they may not be financially secure. Your partner, whether you're married or not, may need financial help to recover from the loss of your salary or pension if it formed part of the household income.


Caring For Your Children


You have no doubt made sure that your children have first and second choice guardians named to take your place in the event of you and your partner being both deceased before your children are eighteen.


These actions will help the executors take your will through probate much quicker than if you hadn't completed your will, which is called intestacy.


You will have a discretionary trust in your will to ensure that financial arrangements can be made for your children even before probate goes through.


Trustees listed in your will, which will often be the same people of your executors, will have received a letter from you - not part of the will - explaining exactly how you'd like money and effects passed on to your children, particularly if they're under 18 when you die. It's a list of what you would expect them to carry out as though they were you, but in more detail than in the will.


This is a big responsibility and it's why you took so much time making sure you chose the right executors and trustees. The trustees may have a long term relationship with your children, perhaps holding on to some of your money until the children are 25 or 30, depending on the size of your estate. It would be important they keep up to date with the best Savings rates so your money can keep earning interest, enhancing your estate.


You have made sure that your life assurance policies are in trust. That means the money can be paid out on production of a death certificate without having to wait for probate, as money in trust falls outside your estate.


Your family will appreciate the money being available quickly because they will have to arrange for your funeral and the party afterwards.


Arrange your own funeral? You'll be writing your own obituary next...


You could, of course, help them even further by arranging your funeral in advance. Paying for it now means that whatever price it goes up to in the future won't affect your heirs. Paying now means the price is protected from inflation - the funeral director guarantees his or her fees in advance.


You will have made the whole process easier for those you leave behind. They won't have to worry about whether you wanted to be buried or cremated, wanted a church service or an atheist's delivery. More than that, though, you'll have taken away most of the stress and struggles your family will go though if you hadn't completed your will and arranged your funeral.



Thousands of over 50s could have out of date wills


Back to Wills and Probate main section

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