Why you need to make a will

Why you need to make a will

More than one in three Brits have struggled to deal with the financial affairs of a loved one who has died, according to new research from insurer Royal London.

Yet just 23% have organised their important financial information well enough to allow their family to easily locate it on their death.

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And more than one in 10 admit it would be very difficult for anyone to handle their financial affairs should they die unexpectedly.

One of the main reasons people put off making a will is that they have a hard time thinking about their own death.

But with the inaction of more than 40 million adults potentially leaving their loved ones facing financial hardship as well as grief should the worst happen, isn't it time you got your affairs in order?

The problem with dying without a will

In the event of a death, a third of families rely on savings, while around a quarter use pension savings to cover their everyday costs, and another 21% use cash from the sale of property, the Royal London figures show.

But if you die without leaving a will, there is no guarantee the money and assets you leave behind will go to the people you want.

If, for example, you are living with but not married to or in a civil partnership with your partner, he or she is likely to lose out in favour of your parents if they are still alive.

And if you are married with children, your spouse will inherit everything up to £250,000, while your children will only be able to access anything left over from the age of 18.

Dying intestate (without a will), also means your loved ones are likely to have to wait a lot longer to access any money you left behind.

This could, for example, force your spouse to have to sell the family home - even though the money needed to keep it will become available to them at some point.

How to write a will

You can write your will yourself, or pay a solicitor to write it for you.

Even if you do it yourself, you will still need to get the will formally witnessed and signed to make it legally valid.

The key information to include is: who benefits; who should look after any children aged under 18; who should carry out your wishes after your death; and what happens if the people you want to benefit die before you.

For more information about writing a will, check out the government website.

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