Many people are under the impression that they don’t need to make a Will until they are older, but this is not true. Every person owns assets, which can be property, a car, furniture, computer systems for example, and every person earns money and has a bank account. This is why you should have a Will, even when you are young.
Some have families, pets and loved ones, and more and more modern couples are choosing not to get married, which can complicate ‘who gets what’ if the worse was to happen to you.
In this article Lindsey Rawson explains the benefits of having a Will drafted whilst you’re young.
1. You Do Have Assets
If you own your home (even with a mortgage), have a bank account and/or savings, possessions or a car – you have assets to leave.
Many people assume that they don’t really have much to leave in a Will when you’re young, but if you own, part-own or have a mortgage on a property then you have a substantial asset to protect. You can also include other possessions or sentimental items in your Will.
2. There is No Rule of ‘Common Law Marriage’
If you are unmarried but are in a long-term or co-habiting relationship, your partner would not automatically be entitled to anything. Many unmarried couples incorrectly assume if one party dies, they inherit the other’s assets, but the law does not recognise unmarried couples in this way. There is no such thing as common law marriage.
If you died without a Will in place, everything you own would fall under the ‘Rules of Intestacy’. This means that you would have no control over who gets what. Furthermore, the Rules of Intestacy make no allowances for cohabiting couples. This means that if you or your partner were to die without making a Will, the survivor would not be entitled to inherit anything.
3. Choose who you Would Like to Benefit From Your Assets
As mentioned above, when a person passes away without leaving a valid Will, their estate will be shared out according to the ‘rules of intestacy’. Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy.
Friends, unmarried partners, extended family members and charities would not be entitled to anything. This could result in someone different to who you wish, inheriting your estate.
4. Protect Your Children
If you have young children, you can appoint a guardian to look after them in the event of both parents dying. Rather than leaving this to the Court to decide, or risk the children being placed in care until the court decides the best place for them, you can choose someone you trust to take care of your children. (for more information see article on appointing a guardian)
5. Protect Your Children Long Term
If a person dies, especially at a younger age, the chances that their partner may re-marry is probably greater. If your whole estate has passed to your spouse, who then goes onto marry again, there is the possibility of all your assets being inherited by the new partner, bypassing your children. If you have a will in place you can ensure anything you want left to your children will be, whether that’s immediately or placed into a trust until they reach a certain age.
It’s easy to think that making a Will is a job for the future when you are older, especially if you are young, fit and healthy. However, no one knows what the future holds. If you make a will whilst you’re young, you would ensure that everyone you love and care for would be looked after in the way you intend.
Lindsey Rawson, head of our Wills, Trusts & Probate department, can help you create an estate plan, help draft a Will, support you to deal with a persons estate when they pass away and get all your affairs in order ready for retirement. She specialises in Wills, trusts, powers of attorney, probate and inheritance tax planning.
Lindsey acts for clients in South Yorkshire and beyond and can be contacted by calling 0114 249 66 66 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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