Why you need a will as a parent



Why you need a will as a parent
Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash.

When you’re a parent, there’s suddenly something, small, with little respect for your personal space demanding attention, so often a new parent can find themselves not having the time to tackle the admin side of life such as making a will or even thinking about the brevity of this.

Yes, this sounds morbid and it’s supposed to be (slightly), but there is a clarity in defining what you want to happen, and this will make it easier for your loved ones when the time comes. And on the bright side? Like reviewing your family insurances or remortgaging, once it’s done, it’s done, and you can focus on the fun stuff.

Despite what people think, writing a will isn’t a hard process and you will be able to do this virtually or in person in a couple of appointments. The first appointment is general meeting and will allow the broker or solicitor to gather information so they can advise on the right solution for you. The second will be to take instructions for the will itself, or if you simply need a standard will it can be done in the first session.

So, why is a will so important?

Ability to choose your children’s guardians

A will is the only legal document that you can state who you wish to be the legal carers of your children if the worst should happen. If you don’t state your chosen guardian/s, the matter will be taken up by the authorities where they will decided who’s best to care for your children. Nominating guardians can take a long time and may result in your children being taken into care while the court decides the best outcome at an already difficult time.

It’s also worth noting that if you are appointing guardians for your children, you may wish to gift a proportion of your estate to the guardians to help pay for your child’s upbringing. The remainder of the estate will be held in a trust for the benefit of the children until aged 18.

They are designed to protect your assets for the people you intend

If you die without a will this is known as dying ‘intestate’ meaning your assets will get passed down according to the law of intestacy that follows the linear structure of a family. For example, your spouse followed by children. However, this can often mean you have to go through probate which can cause lengthy delays. By having a valid will in place this can help avoid family disputes and speed up the process.

As we live in a time of blended and non-traditional family formats meaning, this gets more complicated with blended families. Legally, stepparents are entitled to all personal property and belongings and the first £250,000 of the estate plus half of the remaining estate, with the remaining split equally between children. With careful planning you can safeguard your assets for the intended person/s.

The law also doesn’t recognise cohabiting couples, which without a will in place can cause untold issues, you also do not benefit from the free movement of assets between married couples meaning any inheritance above the £325,000 exempt amount will be taxed at 40%, which can often lead to the family home being sold to pay the inheritance tax bill.

One way to mitigate this is to set up family trusts whereby you place the assets into a trust for the benefit of your chosen beneficiaries, for example your children with your partner as a trustee. This means that you can place part of your assets within the trust, such as a family home, and this will ensure it goes to your children in the event of a second marriage and is exempt from inheritance tax charges.

It helps provide clear instructions to your family in a time where certainty is needed

A will is the only legal document where you can state what will you would like to happen to your estate after death. Without this, you face the possibility of a lengthy probate process and disagreements to how you wanted your wishes to be carried out.

You need to also include who will manage the distribution of your estate, this role is called the executors and typically these will be close family members. For a fee, can also choose to appoint a professional such as a solicitor to act on your behalf.

How much does it cost to make a will?

Typically costs for a will is £140 — £300 but can be more if you would like a specialist will with trust set up, you can book a will appointment with one of our advisers by filling out our online form.

Can I amend my will?

You can update your will whenever there is a big life event, such as marriage or your first child, this is cheap and easy to do once you have the main will in place.

Aspire Financial Advisers Why you need a will as a parent
Photo by vivek kumar on Unsplash.

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The Financial Conduct Authority do not regulate wills, lasting power of attorney and trusts.

Will Writing is not part of the Quilter Financial Planning offering and is offered in our own right.  Quilter Financial Planning accept no responsibility for this aspect of our business.

The content is provided for general information only, is not intended to constitute advice, and should not be relied upon when making financial decisions at the expense of obtaining professional advice. Whilst we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the material provided, we cannot guarantee that it is comprehensive or up to date at all times.