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Three reasons every parent needs a will

Written by: Emma Lunn
Parents should act now to secure their children’s financial future, appoint legal guardians, and avoid ambiguity, according to Farewill.

The will writing company pointed to a survey by Remember a Charity which found that more than two third (68%) of UK adults haven’t made a will – equivalent to 27.8 million people – while almost half (47%) of those aged over 55 don’t have a will in place.

A will is the only legal way to specify what you want to happen to your child if you die before they’re 18.

Research from insurance company Royal London found that nearly 60% of parents don’t have a valid will – meaning they either don’t have one at all, or the will they do have is out of date.

Here are three reasons every parent needs a will:

Secure your kids’ financial future

Dan Garrett, CEO of Farewill, said: “Whatever age your children are, a will sets out exactly how much they’ll inherit. If somebody dies without a will, their estate is divided up following something called the laws of intestacy – a kind of flowchart that defines where money goes.

“For most ‘traditional’ families, this works well enough, but for others with less conventional structures, including those with multiple stepchildren, the laws of intestacy aren’t sufficient. In these cases, to make sure everyone gets a fair share, a will is essential.”

Appoint legal guardians

Most parents assume that if they die, their children will automatically be cared for by a close friend or relative.

But unless a will sets out somebody’s wishes explicitly, the courts actually decide what happens to them.

Not only can this uncertainty be extremely distressing for the children involved, it can sometimes lead to them being looked after by someone the parents might not have chosen.

“By specifying your legal guardians in a will, you can make sure they will always be looked after by someone you love and trust,” said Garrett.

Avoid ambiguity and extra stress

When someone passes away, dealing with their estate can add pressure to what is already a stressful situation.

But a will can clarify things like what kind of funeral the person wanted and where they would like their ashes to be scattered, as well as how they want their estate to be divided up.

Garrett said: “As well as setting out who gets what, a will also allows you to list out all your property and accounts in one simple, easy-to-understand document. This helps make sure nothing goes missing in pensions or savings pots after you die – which is all too common. In fact, the average amount lost when someone dies without a will in the UK is a hefty £9,700.”

Lawyers have warned that the number of wills being challenged by families has more than doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, with questions being raised about how a relatives’ will was executed, who was in attendance and how capacity was established.

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