Making a will can help protect your loved ones after you die, and ensure your estate is dealt with in the way you choose. We explain the top reasons you need to make a will.

What is a will?

A will is a legal document you create that sets out instructions for who will inherit your estate and what should happen after you die.

It includes what sort of funeral you would like, how you would like your possessions to be distributed, as well as other wishes, like who should bring up your children, if you have them.

Sometimes known as your last will and testament, it’s a legally-binding document – but if you don’t prepare it properly, it may not be valid…

As many as 60% of people don’t have wills, by some estimates. If you die without one, your estate will be distributed according to strict rules, meaning the people you care about may lose out.

What happens if you die without making a will?

A will is one of the most important documents that you will ever sign. If you die without a valid will in England and Wales, then the law can decide who has responsibility for any children under the age of 18, and also who receives your money, property, cars, pets and all other belongings that you may have.

Top reasons to make a will
  • Make a will to name your children’s guardian
  • Ensure your children are provided for financially
  • Provide for your dependents, including step-children
  • Protect your partner if you’re unmarried
  • Head off family disputes
  • Avoid paying more inheritance tax than you need to
  • Create a legal will if you’re recently married
  • Decide who you would like to settle your affairs
  • Say who you want to look after your pets
  • Protect your digital assets
When should you make a new will?
As you move through life your circumstances change, as do the potential risks and complications when you pass away. You should consider making a new will:
  • when you have an unmarried partner who should inherit from your estate.
  • when you get married, and your old will is invalidated (in England and Wales) or doesn’t include your new spouse (in Scotland).
  •  When you have a child so that you can appoint a guardian.
  •  When you buy a property or receive a large windfall.
  • If you get divorced, as your previous will won’t automatically be invalidated.
  • When you want to make provisions for step-children, foster children or dependents.
  • If your spouse passes away, and your previous will left the estate to them.
What happens if you die without a will?
If you die without a will, your estate will be divided up in line with the rules of intestacy. This means you will have little control over who receives your estate.

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