10 reasons to write a will

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Dying without writing a will can create problems. If you don’t write a will, your family could face big financial headaches or they may even row over who gets what. It might also result in your family having to pay more inheritance tax then they need to.

Why write a will?

A will is a legal document. It records your wishes and states who will get things you leave behind. If you die ‘intestate’ (without writing a will) these are some of the problems you or your family could face.

10 reasons to write a will

  1. If you don’t have any living relatives, your possessions could be sold off and the ‘crown’ (government) keeps the proceeds.
  2. If you’re separated, but still legally married or in a civil partnership, your ex could get everything – even if you split up with them years ago.
  3. If you’ve divorced and remarried your ex could get nothing, even if you owe them money.
  4. If you don’t say exactly who gets what then arguments could break out over favourite or valuable items.
  5. Your kids won’t get anything if you’re not married to their mum or dad.
  6. You won’t be able to leave an inheritance to grandchildren, rather than your children.
  7. If you don’t say who you want to look after your kids, the courts and social services decide where they go – and it might be into care.
  8. If you’re not legally married to, or in a civil partnership with, the person you live with they’re only automatically entitled to anything you jointly own, such as savings or property.
  9. You could pay more inheritance tax than you need to. In 2013 that’s 40% on everything in excess of £325,000.
  10. If you and your spouse (husband/wife/partner) die at the same time, say in a car accident, whoever’s oldest is said to have died first. If that’s you, your assets then pass to your spouse and then straight on to his or her family.

You can find information about making a will from GOV.UK here.

Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions.