You may be thinking “I’m too young to die” and wonder why you should make a Will if you are young. David White outlines the top reasons why even young people should think about making a Will.
There is a gross misconception around Wills which begs correction, if you could spare me a few minutes to explain.
There appears to be a belief that ‘Wills’ are for ‘people older than me’. They’re for our grandparents, for people reaching retirement, terminally ill patients or those who have lawyers on their payroll. I understand where this perception has come from – a Will is naturally associated with death. I must admit that I even held this view, before I came into practice.
However, death is not reserved for adults of a certain age, whether it be through accident, illness or disease. Therefore, neither should the drawing up of an effective Will. In fact, if the drawing up of a Will is left until later in life, your chances of having lost mental capacity to make a Will is significantly increased.
Whilst the reasons behind a Will in later life may be of a more obvious nature, there are several reasons which may be particularly relevant or only relevant for younger people.
In the event that something was to happen to the parent(s) of a younger child, the child would be left without a legal guardian to protect their interests and make decisions in their upbringing. Therefore, it is always best practice for individuals to include a guardian clause in their Will which appoints a family member or friend to look after the child, if the worst was to happen.
In addition, it would be a natural choice to elect your child to inherit your estate on your death. However, it may be worth considering what is to happen if your child inherits the estate, if they are still of a young age. The use of trusts to hold the funds on their behalf until they reach a certain age, or until otherwise thought appropriate, may be a worthwhile addition to a younger person’s Will. It is worth remembering that if you do not have a Will and your children inherit anything from your estate, they will receive their inheritance outright at age 16.
You may also choose to live with a partner, or even marry or enter a civil partnership. Whilst I have already explained the potential pitfalls of living together as a couple without a Will or Cohabitation Agreement elsewhere (see The Legal Consequences of Living Together as a Couple), it is worth repeating that the law cannot predict whether you would like for your partner to inherit or otherwise. I recently had a conversation with my fiancé where depending on when she died and whether we were married at the time, the residue of her estate should go to her parents, me or our unconceived child!
In any case, it is worth putting a Will in place to ensure that your partner is acknowledged as the person you would like to inherit from your estate, or if you would prefer the estate to benefit someone else.
Finally, for any young individual, it is important to remember that you are currently increasing the size of your estate at a faster rate, than perhaps any other time in your life. Young individuals may be beginning on their career paths, buying their first property, investing in ISAs and suchlike and I hope that this all indicative of an increase in wealth for you. With greater wealth, comes the necessity to have an effective Will in place, in order to provide for your family and friends in the way you would like them to.
The prospect of devising a Will may be a new and mysterious exercise for a young individual. However, at BTO, we have been providing specialist advice in this area for several generations, to ensure the right outcome is achieved for the future generations. If you are interested in discussing whether a Will is right for you, please do not hesitate to contact us.