Spring has sprung, drawing a line under the winter months (although Storm Emma just couldn’t let go), and for many, the annual psychological battle to keep New Year’s resolutions alive probably ended some months ago.
I have a suggestion for a resolution that should be easy to make and achievable. If you haven’t got a will, make a belated promise to write one. Contrary to popular belief, making a will is not akin to signing your own death warrant! It is sensible financial planning for the future.
It’s never fun to think about our own eventual mortal demise, and yet there is no getting away from the fact it is a club of which we are all going to become members. However, a club you definitely do not want to be a member of is the intestate club. To join, you need to be one of the third of adults in the UK that dies every year without having made a will – known as dying intestate.
If you die intestate, a set of inflexible rules dictate how your estate will be distributed and to whom. As you’ve worked so hard during your life to attain the savings, property, etc. that represents your personal wealth, why would you not want to decide for yourself who gets what after you’re gone?
Under intestacy rules, any unmarried partners are ignored, however loving and long their relationship may have been. Step-children are ignored under intestacy rules too.
Even if you plan to leave everything to your spouse, without a will, your loved one as beneficiary becomes responsible for attaining ‘grants of letters of administration’ via the probate registry, which involves an interview and much bureaucratic form filling. It will delay the release of funds and place added strain on your loved one who is likely already fragile and grieving at this time.
You can’t leave a gift to Charity without a will. Did you know that if you leave at least 10% of your taxable estate to charity you could reduce any inheritance tax liability against your estate?
If you’re still not sure it’s time to make a new resolution and make your will, take a look at the Masonic Charitable Foundation website. We have lots of information about will-making and legacy giving, and a useful downloadable guide. We even have an online will making service in collaboration with Law Vault, which is available at www.mcf.org.uk/legacy
I nearly forgot. Did you know that on average people that have written a will live longer than those who haven’t? And people who leave a gift to a charitable cause in their will live longer still.
Make a promise to look after yourself, those you love and the causes you support – make a will.
Duncan Washbrook is the Legacy Manager for the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Charity it's in our DNA