If you have ever had a family bereavement you may have already sussed why having a will is so important. You may think that you know friends and relatives really well, and trust them implicitly. However with the thought of flashing pounds or dollar signs many people’s good sense and decency flies out of the window. Unfortunately this is true of most families and people.
I have witnessed this first hand, although not in my family, and it is heartbreaking. I have heard and read about families that have been torn apart by the disputes over property, money or even small possessions. There does not even have to be much wealth involved for people to behave badly.
Whether you have few disposable assets or a multi-million dollar fortune a Will can solve a few issues as it ensures that:
1 – The beneficiaries receive exactly what you want them to. By naming people and itemising everything you own there can be no element of doubt as to who receives what.
2 – Your affairs should be simpler for your loved ones to sort out.
3 – If you want to leave money to any charities you can stipulate this in your will.
4 – If you have specific desires such as being cremated, rather than buried, this can be stated also.
5 – The timescales and costs of sorting out your estate will be less.
6 – You can make a living will, which contains your wishes as to whether or not you would want your life extending, if you were unable to make that choice yourself. By this I mean via medication, resuscitation and the like. This however is a grey area in legal terms.
7 – You may want to specify any organ donations that you want to bequeath.
8 – You can add a wish list that, hopefully, your executors will respect. This can be used to itemise personal items such as family war medals and or items of jewellery.
9 – You can name the executors. Executors are the people who will administer your will properly. These can be close and trusted family members or friends. However you must ask them first as it is a big responsibility and can be time consuming for them. Choose your executors well and everything should be done fairly.
10 – If you wish to make any conditions in a will, you can. For example you may want to leave some money to your sister, but not her husband, if say they had divorced or she had died. You can state this when making the will in case you were to die suddenly. Obviously you need to update your will from time to time.
11 – In the long run making a will costs less money than if you do not.
When a loved one dies it is a very traumatic time. Having to contact lawyers and start sorting out legal matters is the last thing the bereaved person wants or needs. A complicated and drawn out procedure can cause financial hardship and unnecessary stress .
You should always remember that some people will act badly even at times such as bereavement. I for one do not want distant, uncared for relatives grabbing any of my possessions that they can get their hands on, before my loved ones have a chance to sort things out .
To my mind making a will is the last act of thoughtfulness, and kindness, that you can offer your loved ones. Never put off making a will as, unfortunately, no-one ever knows what’s around the next corner. Making a will is not a morbid act but a realistic one and more than ever a necessary part of life .