No one wants to think about what would happen to our loved ones if we weren’t around, so it’s no surprise that the idea of making a Will is not top of most people’s ‘to do’ list. If you’re in your 20s, 30s, or 40s you might own or be in the process of buying your own home, having children or owning a business. Even in later years, before or after retirement, it still comes as a surprise to know that over 70% of the UK population does not have a Will in place, despite the fact that many of us have assets and family members to protect.  

It’s never too soon to consider putting safeguards in place to protect those you leave behind. By having a Will prepared you can set out who should inherit your assets, such as cash in bank accounts or your home, what each person should receive, who you want to act as guardians for your children and the person(s) responsible for carrying out your wishes.  

Furthermore a Will can also be structured to minimise any inheritance tax which might be payable on your estate. For example, gifts to charity are exempt from inheritance tax. More importantly making a Will allows you to ensure that your assets will pass to those whom you intended. If you die without having a Will in place then your assets will be distributed according to law, not according to your wishes.

If you’re unmarried, it’s a common misconception that your assets will pass to your partner in the event of your death. Likewise if you’re divorced, remarried or have children from a previous relationship, you need to reflect this within your Will. 

The difficulty is often finding that point in your life when you need to consider making your Will and although there is rarely an ideal time to do so, the very thought of making a Will may seem daunting when in reality it can be simple and straightforward.

By taking part in Above & Beyond's ‘Write your Will Fortnight’ not only are you supporting the valuable work provided by the charity to benefit vital funding for Bristol city centre hospitals, but you are also ensuring that your instructions are recorded so those you care about are protected in accordance with your wishes in your Will.

- By Joelle Allen, associate solicitor at Barcan+Kirby

Find out more about Write Your Will Fortnight 2020 and read more information about gifts in wills