Why 2020 should be the year you make a will

Many people have good intentions of making their will, but put it off in the midst of other distract

Many people have good intentions of making their will, but put it off in the midst of other distractions. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Many people have good intentions of making their will but put it off because of other distractions, says Spire Solicitors' Kiri Nichols.

It's a new year, the Christmas decorations have been taken down and New Year's resolutions have been made. But while you were thinking about your year ahead, did you consider making or updating your will?

Many people have good intentions of making their will, but put it off in the midst of other distractions.

Why make a will?

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By making a will you can ensure your wishes are carried out correctly once you are gone. It can also prevent the stress and worry for your family at the time of your death.

A will is particularly important when you want to:

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_ Provide for your spouse or partner

? Provide for your children

? Provide for an elderly or disabled relative

? Make provisions for special friends

? Make a gift to charity

What should I include in my will?

The appointment of executors and trustees is very important and they should be specified in the will. Any gifts that you wish to make should also be included; these can include personal belongings, legacies of money and gifts to charities. You can also include a clause setting out your request for funeral/ burial arrangements and organ donation.

What if I do not make a will?

Many people presume that their next of kin will automatically receive the whole of their estate; however this is not always the case. When a person dies without having made a will, the laws of intestacy will apply and your estate will be divided according to this fixed set of rules. This means your estate might not be divided the way you expect, or want.

There is often the temptation to also seek a self-written will, perhaps from a stationer. While a will can on the face of it seem simple, there are a number of pitfalls for the untrained eye. Unfortunately the impact of those pitfalls often do not come to light until it is too late. This can lead to difficulties for those left behind.

Reviewing and updating your will:

It is important to update your will whenever there have been changes within your life such as a marriage, remarriage, divorce, separation, births or deaths. As a guide, it would be suggested to reconsider the terms of your will every five years. If there are minor changes, this can be done by making a codicil, which is a legally binding document to amend part of the will already in place.

If you would like to discuss any points in this article further, please contact Spire Solicitors LLP on 01603 677077 for all your legal needs.

This column is sponsored by Spire Solicitors LLP.

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