Your dad always told you how important it was to make a will. Like much of the advice he gave, you ignored it, believing you were too young to worry. Only when a friend died suddenly did you realize your dad was right.
Dying intestate, as dying without a will is known, creates unnecessary problems for your family. If you are over 18, however little you own, consider making a will. Then ensure you update it regularly. These are some of the benefits of a will:
- Avoids uncertainty: You probably know what you want to happen to your property when you die. A will allows you to set this out, rather than have people trying to second guess your wishes and possibly getting it wrong. Remember, each person will have their interpretation of how things should be distributed. Do you want your daughters falling out over your diamond ring?
- Reduces costs: If your estate has to go to probate, this will cost money, reducing what your children receive. Careful estate planning can significantly reduce tax payable on assets your heirs receive.
- Speeds up the process: By electing not to take the time to draw up an estate plan, you ensure your family has to spend their time sorting out the mess you leave behind. It will also delay them receiving what corresponds to them.
- Gives immediate access to funds: If you die without a will, your spouse may not be able to access the money they need to live or to bury you.
Making a will and estate plan is relatively simple. Trying to settle the estate of someone who dies without one is much more complicated.