As soon as we became parents, Mr P and I got a Will done. Many parents don’t understand just how important that really is or they keep putting it off. Of course, it’s not something we want to think about when we just have this new beautiful bundle of joy in our arms but it truly is so important so that if the “what ifs” happen your family is prepared. David Williamson is here as my guest to share with you these important facts.
Give it away David…
The Importance of Wills For Parents
Wills are one of the most important considerations every parent needs to make. In Britain today, however, a recent survey revealed that over 60% of Brits have neglected to get one drafted, something that people at Coles Probate Solicitors hope to drastically change. For those who are seemingly unaware, then, here’s why all parents should at least think about getting one today.
OK, so we know that the subject of our own mortality is a difficult pill to swallow. But get over it; we will all die one day. As hard as that might be to accept, accepting it, being aware of it and actively doing something to protect your legacy on Earth after you’ve gone is imperative to helping those who you will leave behind – especially for parents.
To die intestate means to die before you have prepared a will. In this case, your entire estate would be filtered through the UK Intestacy Laws, a convoluted set of legislations that are designed to disseminate your estate in the most fair way fit. Unfortunately, however, what the government deems fair is very often not precisely how you would see it, but without a will you have no say on what happens to your life’s work.
They work thusly: Your estate shall be given entirely to your spouse in the case that its total value is less that £250,000, with the contents of any joint accounts/property going directly to the other owner. In the event that your estate is worth more than £250,000, then the first half of your legacy goes to your spouse, while half of the remainder goes to your children. The remaining quarter also then goes to your spouse, but only on a life interest basis, meaning they cannot sell the portion, but can benefit directly from any interest it may accrue.
The above may not sound too bad, then, as in most cases the bulk of the estate will be left to the spouse who would then use that money to raise/help out your surviving children. The problem with this, however, is that you have absolutely no say. What if you want to leave each child a cash gift, certain sentimental things or a lump-sum for uni payments etc.? Well, you can’t. Your estate will be divided precisely according to Intestate Laws without a will to demand otherwise, and there is very little anyone can do against it.
Getting a Will
Drafting a will is not an expensive or difficult process. In most cases, they may take a matter of days or weeks, with the most time consuming part spent considering just where you want the specifics of your estate to go. It is rare that they will cost more than a few hundred pounds, too, and can even cost as little as £10 is you decide to go DIY. In this case, just make sure to fill one in as per the accepted regulations, and your good to go, just as if a solicitor had produced one for you.
Getting a will is not a burden, and it is not accepting that you may die any time soon. It is protecting those you will leave behind from drawn-out legal headaches, it is funnelling your estate directly to those whom you want to receive it, and it is managing your legacy after you’re not around to manage it yourself. And, fundamentally, ensuring all of this is managed before your death, is ensuring that you continue to be a good parent, even after you’re gone.
Thank you David for that insight into the importance of Wills for parents. As I mentioned this is something I did straight away and that I really am passionate about sharing with other parents. I have been on a mission to make sure all my friends with kids have a Will and hopefully this has convinced you too. I will even add further to the above…
Also note that if you haven’t made a Will, your estate is therefore subject to the laws of intestacy this could trigger an unexpected inheritance tax liability. In other words, your surviving loved ones might have to pay a tax bill before they are entitled to receive any of your assets which just proves why you should have a Will in the first place.
For me the biggest kicker of all is the court will choose who cares for your child/children in the event that you both die, if there is no Will to say otherwise. Would you want some stranger to pick someone to care for your child/children or would you want to ensure it’s someone you deem fit? The choice really is yours!