10 reasons to make a Will:
1) To ensure that your estate passes to the persons (beneficiaries) of your choice. If you do not make a Will, but instead die intestate, your estate will pass to beneficiaries pre-selected by Parliament. These ‘intestacy rules’ are unlikely to reflect your wishes.
2) To avoid extra legal fees for a special Bond without which the Sheriff Court will not authorise your executors to act if you die intestate.
3) To appoint executors of your choice to administer your estate. Again, if you do not make a Will your estate will be administered by executors pre-selected by Parliament, who may not the persons you would have chosen to act.
4) To make appropriate provision for beneficiaries with special requirements. For example, if they are vulnerable or mentally incapable.
5) To make appropriate provision for children if you wish to ensure that they do not receive your estate until an age greater than 16 years.
6) To make provision for your spouse or partner to have the use of assets during their lifetime but so that upon their death those assets pass to others, for example children by a former marriage. This can avoid your children being excluded from your estate if your partner changes their Will after your death.
7) To confer upon your executors all the powers that they need to deal properly with your estate, possibly in a way that is not automatically provided for by the law. For example, to invest sums for children in a flexible manner until they become entitled to your estate, or to continue to run your business after your death.
8) To achieve inheritance tax (IHT) planning objectives. It is sometimes possible to create a trust within a Will which can help to mitigate potential IHT liability as well as to provide flexibility.
9) To make ancillary arrangements, such as funeral directions, appointment of testamentary guardians for children under 16 years of age.
10) To ensure that there is a written formal record of your wishes. This can avoid arguments between family members and others as to what provision you intended to make for them.
If you have any queries regarding the issues referred to in this article please contact our Private Client Department.