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When you’re a new parent, you have a LOT to think about. Suddenly, there’s a tiny (noisy!) person around who depends on you for everything and consumes the majority of your thinking time. So, it’s easy to leave the job of making your will until another time.
‘I’ll get around to it eventually’. I’ve heard plenty of people say this.
But ask an expert, and they’ll tell you: a will is the one legal document no parent should be without. In this article I have collaborated with Beyond, a specialist will writing service provider, to find out why.
What Happens If You Don’t Make A Will?
If you’re a parent of a young child, chances are you’re not thinking about your life expectancy yet. You’ve got plenty of time. But there’s also a lot at stake if something does happen to you.
Without a will, you don’t get to decide:
Who will look after your kids if you die
Instead, a family court or the local council will decide — and while they’ll try to be fair, they’ll have no idea what you would have wanted. Your children might have to move in with a family member who lives far away, or someone with very different values. They might even end up with someone you don’t like.
What will happen to your savings and other assets
This is a bigger deal than you might think. If you’re not married to your partner, they won’t receive anything. And if you are, they still might not get everything: the amount they’ll get will depend on the size of your estate.
It can be even more complicated with blended families, where step-parents can inherit everything (family heirlooms and all), leaving kids without an inheritance.
What will happen to your home
Things can also become difficult if you own the family home by yourself, or as tenants in common. It means your share in the property will become part of the estate, to be divided up according to what the law says — not your wishes. In some cases, this can mean your family will be forced to sell up and move out.
**Check out this related post on the rules regarding if you die intestate**
I’m fine, I’m married…
For married couples, it’s tempting to think that you’re sorted. And it’s true that your partner would get all or most of your estate without a will. But think it through a while, and you’ll see the flaws.
Your partner might remarry, and their new spouse would then be their heir – not your kids. You might die at the same time as your partner. And what about everyone else you love? Your parents, your kids, your friends? A will is the only way to make sure everyone you care about will be looked after.
Is It Hard To Make A Will?
These days, it’s really not. You can make a will online, from home, in just a few minutes on Beyond.life. All you do is answer some simple questions about your wishes, and they’ll use those answers to create a legally binding will. Then just print and sign.
Making a will with Beyond lets you:
- Choose guardians for your children. You can say who you’d like to look after your children if something were to happen to you. You can pick someone with the same parenting values as you, who can raise your kids with the same energy, patience and love you would. You can also do the same for pets, if you have them.
- Leave your savings, home and financial assets to family, friends and causes. You can choose who will inherit how much and leave donations to charity. Carefully managed, this can help you prevent your family from having to pay as much inheritance tax.
- Give your belongings to people who will treasure them. Perhaps there’s a book you loved when you were a child that you’d love your own little one to have, for example. With each item, you can leave a personal message for the recipient.
- Choose executors to handle your estate. Pick a professional or someone you trust who is well-organised. It’s good to know that your savings (and your family’s future) will be in good hands.
Aren’t Godparents Essentially Guardians?
Afraid not. Godparent-hood is essentially a religious and symbolic role, not a legal one. Naming someone as a godparent doesn’t give them any legal standing to take care of your child if you die.
So, if you’d like your child’s godparents to look after them if something were to happen to you, you need to make a will saying so.
How Much Does It Cost To Make A Will?
If you use a local solicitor, you’ll likely pay between £150 and £500 for a will. It could cost more if your wishes are complicated. On Beyond, an online will costs just £90, or £135 for two partner wills.
What If My Child Isn’t Born Yet?
Ideally, you should still make a will now, and just update it after your child is born. After all, you likely have other people in your life who will benefit from the security.
It’s important to update your will often, especially if your family is still growing. The UK government recommends every 5 years, or whenever a major life event (new marriage, new child, new home) occurs.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to pay for a whole new will each time. Beyond offers unlimited updates for just £10 a year. That means that whenever you need to make a change, you can simply log into the site and make a new will whenever you like.
Ready to make a will? Click here to give Beyond’s will writing service a try.