When is the right time to create a will?
Planning and writing a will can make people uncomfortable. Consequently, many try to put it off until they are well into their 50s. Indeed, the average age of a testator – a person who holds a valid will – is 58, while over half of wills in the UK are held by individuals aged between 50 and 70.
There are various reasons why younger generations do not feel the need to create a will. Firstly, many assume that they are too young to worry about organising their estate. Others may feel that they do not have enough assets to justify creating a formal will.
However, putting off writing a will indefinitely can lead to complications further down the line. If a person died unexpectantly without writing one, it could make for additional distress for loved ones during an already difficult time.
When can you start writing a will?
Unfortunately, unexpected tragedies can befall people at any point. So, it is beneficial to be prepared and begin setting one’s financial affairs in order sooner rather than later.
Any UK adult (aged 18 and over) is able to hold a valid will. While it is possible to hold a privileged will once an individual reaches the age of 16, these do not hold the same status as they do not abide by the legal formalities (i.e. it is signed by the adult meaning to give effect to the will, in the presence of two independent witnesses).
A privileged will is a good starting point, however once someone formally becomes an adult, it would be advisable to ensure the document is legally recognised. Doing so will mean that an individual’s final requests are not left open to interpretation.
So, why is it so important for an individual to begin planning their will early?
The benefits of forward thinking
Importantly, early planning gives individuals, as well as their friends and family, peace of mind that their estate is organised. In turn, this will minimise any unnecessary stress when they die.
There are intestacy laws in place, which mean that if someone dies without a will, their assets can be divided between family members. However, this takes all autonomy away from the deceased.
This means that the estate can only be shared between close family members such as parents, spouse, siblings and children. As a result, unmarried partners and other friends will receive nothing, even if the deceased individual intended to leave certain belongings to them.
Additionally, writing a will could reduce the amount of inheritance tax that might be payable. This is because without a will, a person’s assets will be disputed in accordance with the intestacy rules. Producing a will should help to avoid such complications.
Of course, the technicalities of will writing can seem overwhelming. So, seeking professional advice is a vital step.
The importance of advice
Will writing, much like planning for one’s retirement, can be a complicated business. So, it is vital that people seek advice from a qualified legal expert when creating the document. From ensuring clear and concise language, to making provisions for inheritance tax, a legal expert will be able to guide individuals through the will-writing process.
It is for this reason that My Pension Expert has partnered with Simpler Law. We believe that consumers deserve to have complete control over every aspect of their financial futures. So, by referring pension planners looking to create or update a will to the experts at Simpler Law, our clients can enjoy peace of mind that all of their affairs are in order for when they die.