It’s Free Wills Month during October here in the UK. Which means you can get your will drawn up for free from participating solicitors. Maybe you’re still thinking of putting it off. Here’s some reasons and consequences to NOT making a will during Free Wills Month.
Reasons NOT to sort your Will
Here are some reasons that you might not want to get your will sorted.
1. You’ve decided that should you and the other parent of your child aged under 18 die, you are happy that the state will decide who would look after them.
I know that’s a weird way to put it. But that is what will happen if you haven’t got your legal, valid will in place.
Of course, we hope you won’t both die and leave them behind, but sadly it does happen.
However, ironically the thought of you not being here is enough to stop you doing anything about it, even though you know you really ought to.
So here’s a tip:
Instead of thinking ‘what would happen if we died and there was no-one to look after the kids’ say this to yourself:‘ if we had died yesterday, what would be happening to them?”
It’s a lot easier to think this way, as no-one wants to imagine a future with themselves no longer in it.
2. You want your family to squabble, disagree and generally fight over who gets what when you’re no longer around
Even though I know you may well be thinking ‘that would never happen in our family’.
But this does happen, to even the most of harmonious families.
And there’s a reason for it – the discombobulating effect of grief.
It attacks like no other emotion, and can totally throw you, into unusual behaviours, incapacity to make decisions, and utter apathy.
After all, what’s the point when the person you loved is no longer there?
This is not a great setting in which to have to try to sort out the affairs of someone close to you who has died. Underestimate it at your peril!
3. You want your money to be thrown away
Surely not! Who wants to get rid of money?
But that is what happens each year when someone dies who hasn’t divulged the details of a bank account in another country, or hasn’t detailed all the accounts they have got.
Did you know that there are over 9000 unclaimed estates in the UK alone?
With the average amount of an estate valued at £150,000, that is a lot of inheritance left unclaimed.
Just take a moment to think right now, how might this apply to you?
If it does, what can you do about it to stop it happening?
What will you do?
4. You want your property/assets to go to people you really didn’t like very much
That’s what you risk if you don’t state in advance what you want to have happen.
Sounds awful when you put it like that, doesn’t it!
The fact is, if you don’t have a will or trust, your affairs will take a lot longer to sort out, especially if they are complex.
For example, the singer Prince he died in 2016 and they are still in 2021 trying to sort out his estate.
Without you stating legally what you want to have happen, it could easily end up that members of your family you didn’t get on with end up with a lot of it.
5. You are happy for the government to have extra tax from your estate
If you don’t work out whether or not your assets will come under the inheritance tax laws in your country, then a (sometimes massive) percentage of your estate will go to the government.
Maybe you don’t mind that, of course, but if you’d rather your family or friends benefitted, then get advice about your particular situation and act on it, now.
6. You like the idea of your family/friends being involved in a lengthy, stressful, anxiety-making process while the mess left behind gets sorted.
That’s a bit blunt!
But it’s true. The likelihood is that this will be the result of you not taking care of things.
I can’t imagine for one moment that you actively would want this, but it is what they are in line for if you don’t take action now.
Cos I’m sorry to say this, but anything could happen to you.
It happened to my husband – one minute an apparently healthy individual, the next minute facing a terminal diagnosis of cancer.
And we were lucky, he had one final year where we could take care of all this stuff.
For anyone whom dies suddenly, that opportunity is gone forever.
October Free Wills Month
During October it is Free Wills Month in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Find a local participating solicitor and start the process going.
And if you’re in another country, take inspiration this month too. Either look for a charity that offers free wills, make an appointment with a lawyer, or find a will-writing service that can help you.
Remember – it’s ALWAYS too soon to do this, until it’s too late.