June 21, 2017
You may be thinking that after paying out for all those children essentials like toys, clothes and birthday parties there would be nothing left to leave in your Will. But remember - a Will doesn’t just cover your financial wishes.
It’s something we don’t like to think about, but if you don’t make a Will at all and both you and your partner die, any member of your family can apply for parental responsibility for your children – imagine Great Auntie Rose, who is lovely but no match for your boisterous little terrors, or what if both sets of grandparents wanted responsibility? This could set off world war three! If you make a will with provision for the children, you can make your own wishes clear to your family and make sure your children have the most suitable guardians.
If there is any money, the law says that if you have no spouse, or your spouse has died before you, the money will be divided equally between your children and will be held in trust until each child reaches the age of 18. You may prefer that the children have to wait until they are 21 – or maybe 30 – before they can take control of the money.
For some families, it may be fairer not to divide the money equally. For example, if you have a disabled child who may have greater financial needs, you might wish to give that child a larger inheritance.
There might be a large age gap, say, one child is 10 and the other 20. Here, you may wish to leave more to the 10-year-old to help the guardian with bringing a young child up – you can make provision in the Will that this changes to an equal share when the youngest reaches 18.
If your family is a complex one, where you each have children from a first marriage and you also have children together, the need to make a Will is even more important. If you have raised your blended family together for some years, you probably want to keep them together if you both die, but the former spouses’ families may have other ideas. Also your assets may not pass equally to the children - step-children are not entitled to any assets if a step-parent dies without making a Will, so who gets what will depend on the accident of who dies first.
If you make a Will, you can avoid all of these problems and make sure that your children are secure.
Please do call me to arrange an appointment if you are thinking of making your first Will or updating an existing one.