Why do so many young adults in the UK not have a Will? Unfortunately, most people simply don’t realise how important they are! We’ve heard all of the excuses and reasons for not having a Will. So today we’re going to be explaining why you still need a Will – even if you’re young, fit and healthy. We’ll also be looking at what can go wrong if you don’t adequately plan for your future.
The most common reasons that people don’t have a Will in place are:
- They don’t have anything of value to leave to their loved ones
- Having a Will drafted is expensive
- It’s too complicated and time consuming
- I’m too young
- Don’t like to think or talk about death.
The truth is, whatever your situation – whether you’re single, married, have a child, separated, self employed – if you die without a Will your loved ones could end up in an even harder situation at an already difficult time. Put simply, having a Will is really, really important!
We’re going to be taking you through each of the points above to address these concerns that are preventing so many young people from arranging a Will.
Why have a Will when I don’t have anything to leave behind?
This is probably the most commonly asked question. If you’re just starting out there’s a high chance you may have a student loan, a new mortgage or a new job. But this doesn’t mean that you aren’t worth anything.
Firstly, a good, professional Will Writer will assess your situation and recommend other products like a life insurance policy and a Funeral Plan to ensure your beneficiaries are provided for. Life Insurance policies are created to pay off your mortgage so your family can continue living in your home or you can name a beneficiary.
What Happens If I Die in Debt?
If you die in debt your estate (everything you own) will be used to repay the debts. Although your family will be allowed to pay a funeral, debts will need to be repaid from your estate. These are pain in priority order until your assets have been used up.
However, if there isn’t enough money in the estate to repay everyone, your debts will die with you. Surviving relatives do not usually get asked to pay these back unless it is shared debt or they’ve acted as guarantor.
A Will won’t protect you from having to repay debts. Instead, a good Will Writer will be able to recommend products based on your situation to ensure there is a way to leave vital funds behind to support your loved ones.
On the other hand you may not be in debt but still feel that you don’t have enough to leave behind. The chances are, you’re worth more than you think. You may have a ‘death in service’ policy at work, some property equity, or an existing life insurance policy. If you don’t have a life insurance policy – GET ONE! In most cases the payout from a life insurance policy will go directly to a named beneficiary and will not form part of the estate, and will not therefore be used towards paying off debts.
Having a Will Drafted is Expensive.
Most people believe that Wills have to be drafted by a solicitor, and solicitors are expensive. While you can get in done through a law firm there are more benefits to using someone who specialises in Will drafting and financial services.
Solicitors approach drafting Wills in a legal and pragmatic way. Their main priority is to create a legally binding document of your ‘instructions’. What they overlook is how your family will be supported when you die, who will take care of your children and how you can avoid paying inheritance tax.
Because the Team at Simple Will are trained financial advisers we make sure we look at the big picture. We’ll walk you through your options of taking out life insurance policies which could be used to pay off your mortgage and support any dependants you may have. We’ll also advise you on trusts and joint tenancies to ensure your loved ones inherit and you don’t unnecessarily pay inheritance tax. Not only is using a Will writer cheaper than using a solicitor, it also means you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck!
Harry 38. Harry is married and has a child from a previous marriage. After a little research he decides to instruct the solicitor his parents recommended to draft his Will. He gives the Solicitor instructions and states that his new wife should be sole beneficiary, inheriting the house, his pension and life insurance policy.
However, when Harry first created his life insurance policy and pension he named the beneficiary as his first wife on both. Which means if the policies aren’t changed his first wife will stand to inherit the proceeds from both.
A few years later, Harry and his wife decided to come to Simple Will to draft a new mirror will. Fortunately we were able to spot that Harry hadn’t ever changed his pension and life insurance policy and put it right. We also set up a trust for his young son so that he would inherit some money when he reached maturity.
It’s too complicated and time consuming.
When dealing with anything ‘legally binding’ we agree that there is far too much industry talk, jargon and legal terminology to navigate, and it puts a lot of people off. Solicitors are notorious for this. Fortunately, you don’t need a law degree to have a Will drafted. Will writers are experienced and trained practitioners that can create a legally binding document for you. Without the jargon.
The process of constructing a Will is fairly straight forward. At Simple Will we support our clients by giving them detailed information about the personal information they will need to gather, and the key things to think about such as guardians and executors for your Will.
A lot of people (including us) aren’t great at life admin. Don’t stress and certainly don’t let that put you off doing something really important. We’ve put together a great guide to managing your personal admin which details what paperwork you can get rid of and what you absolutely need to hold onto.
Once you’ve got a good idea of what your assets are (the things you own) we’ll help you to decide on how this should be distributed. We’ll make sure that your most important loved ones get the majority of it without paying too much tax. Although we like to visit our clients we can do telephone and video meetings. Initial meetings typically last about an hour. Once we’ve discussed your details we can then draft your Will.
I’m Too Young to Have a Will
This is another common misconception because when you’re young you feel invincible. We get it! We were young once too. However, you only have to turn on the news to realise that death can happen to anyone at any time. Even if you’re young there are a few examples when you should really consider getting a Will.
If you have a partner and you aren’t married:
People often believe that if they die their partner will naturally inherit. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. If you die without a Will it will be your next of kin or surviving relatives that inherit. If you don’t have family, your estate passes to the crown. This is known as bona Vacantia. They are ways to dispute rules of intestacy but the procedure often involves costly, messy, court proceedings.
If you have children:
It is almost too unbearable to think about the impact your death would have on your children. But do you fully understand what could happen if you don’t appoint guardians in your Will? Children under 18 that lose both parents become the responsibility of the court. Although they will always try to appoint a Guardian that the child knows they are often put into the care system until someone has been appointed. If you have a Will you can appoint legal guardians so that your children bypass the care system. It is also a good idea to trust funds to your children so that the guardians can access financial support for raising your children.
Mothers are typically always granted guardianship. However, if your children are estranged from their mother you will have the legal right to appoint other guardians. The law is slightly more complicated for biological fathers that no longer live with the children.
A father usually has parental responsibility if he was married to the mother at the time the child was born and/or he was named on the birth certificate. If not he can apply for parental responsibility.
The best thing to do for all circumstances is to ensure that you appoint guardians and back up guardians in a Will. This will prevent your children from having to go into care and help them adjust more rapidly. We strongly recommend discussing this with whoever you choose as your children’s guardians. Make sure they understand and are able to carry out your wishes about things like education, location and ongoing support. For further information about supporting a bereaved child, please visit https://www.childbereavementuk.org/
If you have any assets:
We’ve already mentioned that most people don’t believe they have enough to leave behind. But most of us are worth more than we think. If you have a pension, a death on service policy with your employer, a house, an expensive car, or savings, then it is wise to speak to the professional Will Writer to ensure your estate goes to the people you care about. It saves a lot of unnecessary heart ache and family turmoil in the long run.
I don’t like to talk about death.
Death for most of us is a scary, horrible, and upsetting prospect. We don’t like to comprehend our own death and don’t like to talk about it. But the truth is, death is an inevitable part of life. Everyone, at some point will die so not planning for your death seems a little irresponsible.
The Coronavirus Pandemic has really highlighted the fragility of human life. For many it has brought us closer to the reality of death like never before. We’re not here to scare anyone. We’re simply saying that now is the time to take control of something that we have very little control over.
Getting it Done
We’re always so astonished at the number of the people, particularly young people that don’t have a Will in place. If you’ve read this we really hope you understand how important it is to prepare for the inevitable. If nothing else, a Will allows you to continue to support your loved ones and your children at an already difficult and stressful time.
The good news is that Wills can be drafted by specialists – not just solicitors. Meaning that the process can be done efficiently, thoroughly and inexpensively. As financial advisers we are in a unique position. We can advise on how to avoid paying inheritance tax as well as discuss additional products, like funeral plans, probate and life insurance that are really going to support your loved ones.
Not sure where to start? Contact us on 0800 380 0098 to book an initial appointment or to discuss the process. Alternatively, check out our Ultimate Checklist For Making A Will.