At its core a will is a legal document describing your wishes and intentions in regards to your estate. It comes into effect upon your death.
Decide who inherits
Further, a will can determine who inherits what from your estate. If you die without a will, the law decides who is entitled to what and it may not always be who you would choose.
Look after your children
For parents, a will can make sure your children are looked after by someone you choose. Without a will, there is potential for your children to go into a foster home, while the courts decide who will become their guardian. Appointing guardians in your will is the best way to ensure a secure future for your family.
Give your loved ones peace of mind
A will that outlines all your wishes can significantly speed up the process of administering your estate, ie. distributing your assets and sorting out all the paperwork after you die. The last thing a grieving relative will want to do is go through months, and in some cases years, of formalities. They will likely need professional assistance costing money and time.
Reduce tax liabilities
If your estate is liable for inheritance tax, at least some of it has to be paid first, before any assets can be released. This can lead to a catch 22 situation if your relatives do not have the funds to cover the tax. A will can help them lessen the tax burden.
Plan your Funeral
You can set down your wishes for your funeral, cremation or other ceremony in your will. That way, your friends and family are safe knowing what you would want them to arrange. This takes away the stress of considering all the options.
Wills can be useful for many arrangements that need to be made after your death. You can use your will to make provisions for your pets. You can determine whether you would like to become an organ donor or contribute to science. You can make donations to charity.
You have made your will and signed it. Where do you keep it? Get the right storage for your will.
You're in a relationship, married or in a civil partnership?
Consider making Mirror Wills.