The idea of writing a will can be difficult, with many people putting it off, or assuming it doesn’t need to be written until you are of a certain age. However, like most things in life, planning ahead is sensible. Having a will prepared for when the inevitable happens will ensure your family and loved ones are protected, and your wishes are honoured.
Without a will, when you die, your assets will be distributed according to a set of standard legal rules, which could result in further upset for your family and an outcome that you would not have wished for.
Many people assume they need to write a will when they get to a certain age or fall ill, but this is not necessarily the case. Life can be unpredictable, and it is always good to prepare for the unexpected. Additionally, it is a legal requirement that you write your will when you are of sound mind, and waiting until you are unwell can prevent you from being able to document your wishes. So, in this article we are going to explore all the times you should write and update your will.
What is a will?
Generally speaking, a will is a legal document that coordinates the distribution of your assets after death and can appoint guardians for minor children. In this document, you can state your wishes regarding these topics:
- Who will manage your estate
- Who will inherit your assets and property
- Who will take care of your children if they’re under the age of 18
- Who will take care of your pets
- How would you like your funeral to be
When should you write a will?
If you do not already have a will and an important life event occurs, it is a good time to consider writing one. The recommended time to update your will is every five years, particularly if you undergo any significant life changes. These life events can be broadly divided into two areas: a change to your financial circumstances or a change in your personal life. These changes include:
Changes in your personal life
Turning 18: Although many people will not necessarily need or want to write a will when they turn 18, it is legally allowed in the UK. And there are some instances in which people of this age may need to write one.
Recently Married: When you get married, any will that was made before the marriage becomes void. Therefore, it is important to update your will after the marriage has been legally confirmed and reflects your wishes.
If you have not written a will prior to your marriage, it’s vital to do so once you are married. The reason for this is that if you die without a valid will, your spouse will inherit all of your personal belongings and assets under £270,000 if you have children.If you do not have any children, your spouse will inherit your entire estate.