How old should I be before I consider writing a will?
Making wills is something that’s just for older people when they’re planning for retirement, right? Wrong!
Many people believe that they’re simply too young to need a will, but this usually isn’t the case. If you’re an adult, then there’s no such thing as being too young to write a will, and there are loads of good reasons for having yours created right now.
In this post, we take a look at the minimum age requirements for writing a will, and explore some of the milestones, life events and triggers that should act as a firm reminder that it’s time to update your will.
Currently, the minimum legal age for writing a will is 18 – but for most people, there’s no need to rush out and have one written the moment they become an adult. In practice, if you’re a teenager, or in your early 20s and single, writing a will may not be essential.
Most people in this category don’t have any valuable assets, and there’s a good chance that they are still somewhat dependent on their parents financially. Under the current rules, if an unmarried person dies without a will in place, then any assets they do have will go to their parents. For many people, this will be sufficient.
However, once you start becoming financially independent, and begin building up some wealth and assets, you’ll want to create a will to provide for beneficiaries other than your parents in the event of your death.
There are some key life events that should act as triggers and reminders that it’s time to write a will if you haven’t done so already, or time to update your existing one.
If you’re getting married, then making a will is essential. This will help to ensure that your partner, family members, friends and loved ones benefit exactly as you want them to in the event of your death.
It’s also particularly important for those in long-term relationships who aren’t getting married – especially those who have joint assets like a house together. Under the current intestacy rules, long-term partners don’t get anything!
Writing a will helps to ensure that you have plans in place for looking after your children and providing for them financially if you die unexpectedly.
As your significant relationships change, so will your wishes. That’s why it’s vital to have your will updated in the event that your marriage/long-term relationship status changes.
If you’re diagnosed with a serious or life limiting illness, then it’s vital that your wishes are up to date. Writing a will is the best way to ensure that all your friends, family members and loved ones benefit exactly as you want them to when you’re gone.
Starting a business
If you’re a business owner, or have shares in a private business, then it’s important to set out your plans for these in the event of your death. Setting out effective plans for succession and ownership can help to minimise business disruption and inheritance tax obligations.
It isn’t a pleasant thought, but death is a part of life, and unexpected accidents or illness can strike at any time. That’s why it’s a good idea to update your will regularly, regardless of what’s happening in your life or how healthy you are.
As a general rule, looking at your will at least once every five years will help to ensure that it’s up to date and provides a good representation of your wishes.
In short, it’s never too early to start thinking about making a will, but you never know when it might be too late!
Want further information about any aspect of wills, inheritance or probate? Download our free Ultimate Guide to Wills & Probate today.