The Importance of Wills

Having a will is important because if you die without making a will there are certain rules called the rights of succession which will dictate how your money, property and possessions will be allocated which may not be the way that you would have wanted it to be distributed. For example, unless there is a will, couples who are not married or in a civil partnership do not automatically inherit from each other when one partner dies. This could leave your partner facing a serious financial problem if you usually provide for them financially.

There are numerous advantages of having a will. If you have young children you can name a guardian in your will and leave instructions for how they should provide care for your children. You can also set up a trust fund if you want a sum of money to go to your child/grandchild but not before they reach a certain age or certain conditions are met. Your will can specify exactly who is to get what. You can provide for your partner, even if you are not married or in a civil partnership, by leaving them some money or assets. If there is a specific item you want to leave someone in particular then you can do that in your will to ensure they get that particular item. You can even leave money to a charity. Discussing funeral plans with loved ones can be distressing and may be a topic of conversation you have avoided. Therefore, you can include your funeral wishes in your will and know that you will be buried or cremated accordingly without having to discuss the matter with loved ones. You can also write letters to loved ones to provide some sort of comfort after you have passed away. You could write these letters and leave them somewhere in the house in the hope that they will be found after you pass away and not before. Or you could leave instruction in your will with the location of these letters. Having a will can also take some stress away from loved ones as they will be able to follow the will and know that they are honouring your final wishes instead of stressing themselves out trying to guess what you would have wanted. Once you have written your will you will gain some peace of mind knowing that your final wishes have been recorded. You can also take comfort in the fact that it is not absolute – if your circumstances change in the future you can always have the previous will altered or have a new will written.

Author: Alexis Craig, LLB Hons, Dip LP

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm.

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