Two women sat side by side reviewing legal documents

Top reasons for having a Will

Your will tells everyone what should happen to your money, possessions and property after you die. If you don’t leave a will, the law decides.

Name your children’s guardian

When writing a will, you don’t just decide how your estate is divided up. You also have a say as to who should look after your dependents. If they’re under 18, you can also appoint their legal guardians. If you don’t, the decision could be left to the family courts, who may choose a person you wouldn’t agree with. You may have named friends or family members to be your children’s godparents, but this isn’t legally-binding.

Ensure your children are provided for financially

As well as saying who will raise your children, you can make plans to provide for their future financially. This might include putting aside money for their education, making sure they receive a set amount each year for clothing or hobbies, or establishing a nest egg to buy a home. You may wish to consider setting up a trust to provide for your children, as this gives you an element of control over when your children receive the money, and what it gets used for. There are two ways to set up a trust: you can either establish it while you are still alive, or leave instructions for it to be established when you pass away.

Provide for your dependents, including your step children

Your step-children may be a big part of your life, or even be your only children, but the law states that only spouses or blood relatives can automatically inherit if there is no will. If you want to provide for your step-children, you’ll need to write a will that includes them. The same goes for foster children, or any other dependents who may rely on you for support.

Protect your partner if you’re unmarried

Unmarried partners aren’t entitled to anything from your estate unless specifically stated in your will – no matter how long you’ve been together. Writing a will ensures your partner will receive their fair share of your estate.

Safeguard your family home

If the family home is in your name, your unmarried partner and step-children aren’t automatically in line to inherit it if you die without a will – meaning they may lose their home. You can leave them a share of the property in your will, or a right to reside in the property.

Woman sat with legal professional, signing a document

Avoid family disputes

Dividing up an estate can sadly sometimes lead to squabbles and arguments among your survivors if there is no will or your wishes aren’t made clear. Contested wills can be damaging to relationships among your family, and can also be expensive if decisions about your estate are legally contested. A well-prepared will can help avoid these arguments, and avoid making your passing even more stressful for your survivors.

Avoid paying more inheritance tax than you need to

The amount of inheritance tax that will be charged from your estate depends on how much you have, and also who you leave it to. Anything left to your spouse or civil partner will be automatically exempt from inheritance tax. Leaving property to your children and grandchildren is also likely to generate a lower inheritance tax bill than leaving it to others.

Create a legal Will if you’re recently married

When you marry, your existing will automatically becomes invalid in Scotland. According to the rules of intestacy, this means your estate could end up split between your new partner and children from a previous marriage, potentially causing arguments. And getting divorced doesn’t override your will, meaning your ex-partner may still be in line to inherit from your estate. As such, it makes sense to regularly review your will so it still reflects your situation, particularly after a marriage or separation.

Decide who you would like to settle your affairs

Within your will, you can name an executor, or multiple executors, who will be in charge of carrying out your final wishes. Choosing your executor in advance allows you to select the best person for the task. It also gives the executor prior warning so they can prepare themselves.

Support a charity

Many people are unaware that along with nominating your loved ones as a beneficiary of your estate, you can also leave a gift in your will to your favourite charity or more than one charity If you support a charity, you may wish to leave something for it when you pass away. As well as supporting a good cause, you could potentially reduce the amount of inheritance tax paid by your family if you leave more than 10% of your assets to a good cause. Leaving a gift in your will to Winston’s Wish will help them ensure they can offer their services well into the future

Now you know why it is so important to have a Will, you can easily start your will today by visiting Whilst writing your will if you wish to include a gift in your will to Winston’s wish you can easily do so during the process.

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