Your will is an important document that outlines what should happen to your money, possessions and property after you die. It gives you the power to express how you would like your estate to be distributed.
If you do not have a will when you die, the law will make this decision on your behalf, which will not necessarily be in line with your wishes. While it may not be needed anytime soon, when should you start thinking about writing a will?
Buying a home
The purchase of any property, including a new home, represents a significant change in the value of your estate. Major changes in your estate value may affect who your beneficiaries are, and how much you wish to leave them after your death. You may wish to pass this particular asset onto a spouse or child, allowing them to continue living in the family home.
Marriage or divorce
These events are likely to reflect significant changes in your personal relationships, and in-turn, the beneficiaries named in your will. You should keep in mind that wills made before marriage are revoked automatically unless specific conditions are met.
If you have children under the age of 18, you should draft a will that contains a guardian clause. This allows you to name who you would like to look after your children should you and your spouse pass away. If you have not chosen a guardian, legislation will dictate who will care for your children.
While the laws on intestacy will ensure that your children are entitled to a portion of your estate should you die without a will, the division may not be as you would have intended. Writing a will means that you can ensure that your children are properly provided for.
Starting a business
If you are the sole shareholder in a business, drafting a will means you have the opportunity to decide who will take over the running of the business in the event of your death. You will have control over what happens to the assets of your business and how they will be passed on.
This will be important if, for example, you have one child who is interested in taking over the business, and another who is not. For loved ones with no business experience, finding themselves in charge of making important decisions relating to the business may be distressing, so it is a good idea to plan ahead. Your will could also be an important tool for inheritance tax planning when it comes to passing your business on.
Circumstances can change greatly over time and is it recommended that you review your will roughly every five years. If you require any help or assistance in your estate planning, please do not hesitate to contact our team of experienced Bristol solicitors on 0117 962 1205 or fill in an online contact form.