People in their 20s often think they do not need a Will, particularly if they are single and do not consider themselves to have anything worth leaving. However, a Will that has your wishes clearly specified will make things a lot easier for your family. It is surprising how many families encounter conflicts over the division of a deceased person’s assets. Preparing a Will is not something you should delay and it is a common misconception that making a Will is something that only the elderly should do. Here are 5 good reasons why you should make a Will now, regardless of your age.
1. You own a property – you may be lucky enough to have got onto the property ladder during your 20s. If you do own a property, you should state what should happen to that property when you die. If you own a property in your sole name, for example, that you and your partner (who you are not married to) live in together, they would have no entitlement to this property in the event of your death. If you and your partner own your home jointly, then what happens to this in the event of one person’s death will depend on whether you own this together as joint tenants or tenants in common. If you own the property jointly with another person as ‘tenants in common’, a Will is particularly important, as it means that your share of the property does not pass automatically to your co-owner on your death and this share in the property will be passed on when you die either as per the terms of your Will (if you have one) or under the Rules of Intestacy if you don’t.
2. To provide for your pets – according to the law in England and Wales, pets are considered your personal possessions which means that you can gift them to someone else. Not only do pets hold a special place in our hearts but they become part of the family. You may wish to state who should look after your pet when you die and you can also set aside a sum of money in your Will to help care for your pet to cover all costs for looking after your pets to include vet bills and insurance.
3. To nominate a guardian for your children – you can use your Will to appoint a guardian for your children. In the event that both parents have died, your guardian will have parental responsibility for them while they are under 18, known as ‘minors’. If you fail to appoint a guardian for your children and both parents have died, the Court will typically have to appoint a guardian and this may not have been the person you would have chosen yourself. If, following your death, the child has a surviving parent who has parental responsibility, the appointment of your chosen guardian will not take effect for as long as there is a surviving parent.
4. To provide for younger family members – if you die without making a Will, the rules of intestacy apply which set out who inherits your estate. Broadly, this is your closest blood relative. If you are married then your spouse would be at the top of this list, then your children (if you have any) would be next in line, followed by your parents. While you are in your 20s, this is most likely to be your parents who would get half each. Even if you do not have very much, you may want this to go to younger brothers and sisters or perhaps to nieces and nephews. The only way to be certain this will happen is to make a Will. An example of this is with the death of 28 year old DJ and music producer Avicii. Under Swedish intestacy laws, which are similar to the UK’s, his entire estate passed to his parents as he did not leave a Will, he was not married and he did not have any children when he died.
5. To give your friends something to remember you by – you may not have huge cash sums to give away in your Will, but no doubt you will own items of sentimental value such as jewellery or photos. Perhaps these items would mean something to certain friends or relatives and a Will can be accompanied by a letter directing who should receive your most prized possessions.
If you would like advice on making a Will, please contact me on 01278 457891 or, alternatively, at firstname.lastname@example.org There is no charge for an initial enquiry so please contact us if we can be of any assistance.