While we all know it’s something we have to do, many of us put off writing a will, leaving it until later in life. In fact, research reveals around 68% of UK adults haven’t made a will.
In spite of their additional responsibilities, parents are no different. Reports estimate that 54% of mums and dads don’t have a will.
It goes without saying that if you have children, you need to organise your will to protect their future. Even though new parents often feel like they have thousands of other things to do, prioritising making a will is important.
Dan Garrett, CEO of Farewill – the UK’s largest will writer and a company on a mission to ‘change the way the world deals with death’ – explains more:
Secure their financial future
‘Whatever age your children are, a will sets out exactly how much they’ll inherit. If somebody dies without a will, their estate is divided up following something called the laws of intestacy – a kind of flowchart that defines where money goes’, he explains. ‘For most ‘traditional’ families, this works well enough, but for others with less conventional structures – including those with multiple stepchildren – the laws of intestacy aren’t sufficient. In these cases, to make sure everyone gets a fair share, a will is essential.’
Appoint legal guardians
Most parents assume that if they die, their children will automatically be cared for by a close friend or relative. But unless a will sets out somebody’s wishes explicitly, the courts actually decide what happens to them. Not only can this uncertainty be extremely distressing for the children involved, it can sometimes lead to them being looked after by someone the parents might not have chosen. ‘By specifying your legal guardians in a will, you can make sure they will always be looked after by someone you love and trust,’ Dan states.
Avoid ambiguity and extra stress
Should the unthinkable happen, dealing with a parent’s estate only adds pressure to what is already a stressful situation. ‘What kind of funeral did they want? Where would they like their ashes scattered? How did they want to divide up their estate? By writing a will, these things are set out clearly and decisions are already made,’ Dan explains.
‘As well as setting out who gets what, a will also allows you to list out all your property and accounts in one simple, easy-to-understand document. This helps make sure nothing goes missing in pensions or savings pots after you die – which is all too common. In fact, the average amount lost when someone dies without a will in the UK is a hefty £9,700.’