I have a new guest post for you today, from http://www.mylawyer.co.uk/law/, about the importance of making a will.
My husband and I have been talking about this since I was pregnant, and have asked our chosen guardians (who said yes!) and sorted out life insurance, but have yet to get the will drafted. Reading this article I was sent makes me all the more determined to get it sorted as soon as possible.
I hope you find it helpful.
Wills for New Parents: New Baby, New Will
All new parents want the best for their child and many will spend a lot of time on researching the options. From the most comfortable prams and safest car seats, to the healthiest food, no stone is left unturned in the search for the best. At this time of joy and optimism it is not surprising that most parents don’t want to think about what would happen to their child if they died.
This article explains why it is so important for parents to plan for the worst and have a Will in place from the moment their child is born. It describes the options available, as well as the problems that can arise when a parent dies without a Will.
The reluctance of new parents to think about the worst is reflected in the fact that almost 60% of the population die without making a Will. Known as ‘dying intestate’, dying without a Will can cause a lot of difficulties for the people left behind, especially the children of the deceased.
There are many reasons for new parents to make a Will, but the most important is that it allows them to nominate a guardian – someone they know and trust to look after their child or children should both parents die. When you have a named guardian in your Will, that person will have a legal responsibility to look after your child if you die.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a Will and have not named a legal guardian, then the future care of your child will be determined by the courts and by the State.
Clearly, this is a scenario that no parents would want for their child or children. Taking the simple step of creating a Will and appointing a guardian of your choice, will give you the peace of mind of knowing your children will be looked after should you die.
Another important aspect of creating a Will is financial. In a Will, you can specify exactly how you want your estate – your property, money and belongings – to be distributed in the event of your death and ensure your children are provided for financially. Without a Will in place, State imposed rules will dictate how your assets are distributed, regardless of the wishes of your family.
This can cause particular difficulties in the situation where you and or your partner have children from a previous relationship, as well as your own new baby. If there were no children from a previous marriage, the majority of your estate would simply go to your spouse or to your child or children if your spouse had died before you.
However, where you have a child or children from a previous relationship the situation is more complex and will need to be carefully thought-through when drafting your Will. If, for example, you wanted to leave half of your estate to a child from a previous relationship and half to your spouse and new baby, this might mean that your family home would have to be sold in order for your estate to be evenly split.
There are two solutions to this problem. The first would be to make a discretionary trust Will. A discretionary trust Will allows you to put a share of your estate aside to be held in trust. In this case, you could put up to £325,000 into the trust, from which the child from your first relationship can benefit ultimately upon the death of your spouse. This way, your spouse can live in the family home with your child, but you can still leave part of your estate to your other schild. The second solution would be to use mutual Wills. Mutual Wills are Wills, in which you and your spouse name the same beneficiaries (i.e. you both name your child and the child from your previous relationship to be left agreed amounts) to receive the estate upon the death of the second spouse. Each Will contains a clause which means that neither of you can change the Will without the permission of the other. This means that even if you die first, you can be reassured that the child from your first relationship will be provided for upon the death of your spouse.
It must be noted that the option of using a discretionary trust Will is the more suitable if you are concerned about the financial management of your spouse, as he or she will not be able to access the assets in the trust, while in the case of mutual Wills he or she will have access to all your assets and can do with them as they please.
Many people put off getting a Will, viewing it as morbid and even tempting fate. And in some cases, you can get away with not having a Will and your estate will be divided roughly as you want it. However, once you have a child that is no longer the case. As an adult you are responsible for yourself, but once you become a parent you become responsible for the wellbeing of your child, and that means having a plan in place should the worst happen. It means making a Will.
Visit www.mylawyer.co.uk to find out more.
MyLawyer service is designed to make creating legal documents and receiving legal advice as easy and cost effective as possible. Whether you’re an individual looking to protect your family’s future with a Will, or a landlord wanting to know your rights, MyLawyer is there to point you in the right direction and ensure you get the best legal documents you deserve.