Is it time you made a will?

31 May 2023

In October 2022, the annual rate of inflation in the UK reached a 41-year high of 11.1% leaving us in a cost-of-living crisis. On Thursday 11 May 2023, the Bank of England increased UK interest rates by a further 0.25 percentage points to 4.5%. As a result, more people are relying on receiving an inheritance to help them get onto the property ladder.

It is now more important than ever to plan for our futures to ensure that our loved ones are provided for.

Making a will is the only way that you can ensure your estate is left to the people you love and care about. Without a will, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules which could mean that your loved ones do not benefit from your estate in the way that you had intended.

Who can make a will?

Anyone can make a will provided they meet the following requirements:

  1. Are aged 18 or older; and
  2. Have ‘testamentary capacity’.

The only exception to the age limit of 18 is if you are on active military service. There is no upper age limit for making a will provided that you are of sound mind.

The test for testamentary capacity is based on case law. The person making the will must:

  • Understand that they are making a will and the consequences of doing so;
  • Understand the nature and extent of the property comprised in their estate;
  • Understand their moral obligations – they should be able to understand and acknowledge the consequences of making provision for certain individuals whilst excluding others; and
  • Not be suffering from any disorder of the mind that perverts their sense of right or prevents the exercise of their natural faculties in disposing of their estate by will.

When should you make a will?

Many of us think that we are too young to make a will and that making a will is something that we do when we are older. In fact, the average age of people that make a will in the UK is 58, with those aged 50 to 70 years old responsible for over half of the wills drafted in the UK. However, making a will is not something that you should delay and people of all ages should be encouraged to make a will.

We often think about planning for the future at various life events most of which happen in our younger years. These milestones in particular are when you should be ensuring that you have an up to date will in place. These include the following:

  • Having children – in your will you can state who is to be your child’s legal guardian if you and your child’s other parent dies;
  • Buying your first house – you can decide who should inherit any share that you own in your property;
  • Getting married – marriage invalidates any previous will you may have made;
  • Getting divorced – whilst marriage invalidates any previous will you may have made, divorce does not. If you are separated or in the process of getting divorced, you should update your will as soon as possible – don’t wait until the divorce has concluded; or
  • Have a serious/terminal illness.

You may also wish to consider creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). A LPA is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to do so yourself. This could be due to an accident, illness or simply because you no longer have the mental capacity to make your own decisions. There are two types of LPA that you can make: a Property and Financial Affairs LPA and a Health and Welfare LPA. Further information regarding LPAs can be found here.

How can we help you?

If you would like help or guidance preparing a will, or if you have any other queries about creating a LPA, please contact our team of experts at Redkite Solicitors. We are here to help and support you every step of the way.

This article was written by Redkite Solicitors, Joshua Jones. To find out more about Joshua and the support that he can provide to you, visit his website profile here.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.