Parenthood means lots of new responsibilities, and one of those is writing a will. Read this article to find out why you should write one and top tips for ensuring your child gets the best outcome from your will…
As a new parent, you’ll already be adjusting to a new way of life, with a lot less sleep, so writing a will might be at the back of your mind. Of course, will writing solicitors might be of interest to you, to ensure a smooth process into parenthood and ensuring your child has the best future set up, in case anything were to happen to you or your partner. That said, you first need to decide that writing a will is a priority.
We know it’s not a cheery subject, and no-one wants to be thinking about not being around to see their child grow up, but it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of writing a will, what could happen if you don’t write a will, and top tips for ensuring you write the best possible will for your child. Remember, you only have to do this once – with regular reviews of course, so get started on it now!
What are the Benefits of Writing a Will?
We know that parenthood is a busy new way of life and things you have the best intention to complete get further and further down the list. But, as a new parent, it’s part of your responsibility to your children and should be top of your list.
There are many benefits to creating a will:
- Creates certainty about you want
- Gives other family members peace of mind
- It means you have these difficult conversations with guardians and what you want to happen to your children
- It reduces worry and stress for family members after you pass away
- It can be changed and edited to suit your circumstances
- You can choose who will become guardians of your children, without leaving it down to the local authority or court
- If you are not married, you can choose that your possessions are inherited by your partner
What Happens to Your Family Without a Will?
If you die without a will, you die “intestate” which means your estate and possessions will be divided according to the rules of intestacy. Intestacy rules are set out in the Inheritance and Trustees’ Power Act. Essentially the rules determine who inherits what based on family connections. And this does not take into account how close you are with different family members or whether you wanted them to inherit anything. This won’t always benefit your children in the best way so it’s much better to have a plan in place.
How to Write the Best Will for Your Child
So, you’ve decided to write a will – great! The next question is, what do you need to think about including in it? Obviously, a will writing solicitor will be the best person to guide you in this, but here are some things we think you should think about:
Ensure you Appoint a Guardian for Your Children
Once you have appointed a guardian, make sure you talk to them about it, so they don’t get a shock! If you don’t choose a guardian, the local authorities will be charged with deciding – and while they often prefer immediate family, this is not automatic. It’s often a good idea to appoint a substitute guardian, or more than win in the case that the person appointment is unable or unwilling to take on the role.
Set out a Plan for Your Child’s Finances
This is to ensure that everything is covered if you’re not around. Think about what expenses they are likely to need covering and how much it will cost to comfortably look after your child in the event that you can’t. If you think your estate will cover all of this, make sure to make not of that.
Don’t Forget About Other Beneficiaries
Obviously, your children will be the most important people to include in your will, but if you or your partner has previous children and other dependants, you need to think about these too to avoid any disputes.
Decide on What Age Your Children can Inherit
If not otherwise stated, children receive automatic access to their inheritance when they turn 18 years old (in the UK), but if you have other wishes, make sure to state this.
Appoint Trustees for Your Child’s Inheritance.
Your child can receive a cash allowance, but to withdraw any other funds before their inheritance age, they will need a trustee’s permission. It’s recommended that you choose more than one trustee.
Think About Beneficiaries from Trusts, Pensions or Insurance
Don’t forget that any other policies you have in place will need to be updated to include your children too.
Make Sure you Consider Family Heirlooms too
You might wish to ensure specific legacies are passed on to your children, rather than sold or given away so make sure you include these too.
Think About an Executor for Your Will
This will be the person who disburses funds and administers the will after your death. An executors responsibilities include seeing that all your requests are fulfilled, taxes and debts are paid and that your property is distributed to your heirs, so pick someone you trust implicitly and who can handle the financial duties of overseeing an estate. But remember to keep in mind that this will not be an easy or simple job, so it might be worth discussing this with a will writing solicitor.
Make Sure to Sign the Will
This one might sound obvious, and if you enlist the help of will writing solicitors, they will ensure this is carried out. But this is one of the ways that wills are not valid.
Make Sure you Book in Time to Review Your Will
It’s obviously important that you get an initial will sorted now, as a new parent. But there will be things that need to be added, taken away or amended later in life. So, make sure to put time in to revise these.
Should you Appoint a Will Writing Solicitor?
You don’t needa lawyer to write a will, but we would definitely recommend appointing someone anyway.
There are many common mistakes that are made when making a will and this can cause problems after your death so this might be one of the pushes to using a solicitor. A lawyer who specialises in will writing will have lots of experience in drawing out all of the relevant information and ensure that your will is written in a way that will be understood by your executor and inheritors.
Another reason for choosing to use a lawyer instead of relying on your family and friends to sort out your will after you die, is that your family and friends will already be going through a stressful and upsetting time and this will lead to added stress.
You might think it’s cheaper to not use a lawyer, but if things go wrong, your inheritors may end up with significant legal costs to rectify these issues.
Ready to Write Your Will?
We know there’s a lot to think about and you would’ve rather taken a quick nap than read this article, but it’s super important that you start to think about your will. As we’ve mentioned before, a will writing solicitor might be beneficial for you when writing your will. Especially if you don’t have much experience in this and to have the most peace of mind for your child future whilst ensuring you can enjoy all of the firsts with your child instead!
If you have any top tips for writing a will that benefits your children, let us know in the comments below.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a divorce lawyer if you’re seeking advice on writing a will. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.
Photo by Aditya Romansa from Unsplash
Photo by Scott Graham from Unsplash