Five reasons to make a Will in your 20s

Often, people in their twenties think they do not need a Will, and it is a task that remains low on their priority list. However, a sudden illness or accident can happen at any time and to anyone. Here are five reasons why it is important to make a Will whilst in your twenties.

  1. Ensuring you estate passes as you want

By making a Will, you ensure that your wishes are in place and your estate passes to the people you want it to. You can change your Will at any time to reflect the changes in your life.

The age limit for making a Will in England and Wales is 18 so once you reach that age, use the opportunity to make a Will.

  1. Risk of estate falling into intestacy

Dying intestate (absence of a valid Will) can increase stress and costs for your family when it comes to dealing with your estate. Dying is not something we often like to think about, however, you will inevitably have assets that need dealing with on your death and this will fall to someone close to you to deal with. You will need to consider:

  • Executors
    When making a Will, you will appoint Executors to carry out your wishes. However, dying without a Will requires your closest living relative to apply as Administrator to manage your estate. This may often be your parents however, you may not wish to burden them with this important role. This is a decision you would make if you were to make a Will.
  • Your family and friends
    The rules of intestacy (governed by Administration of Estates Act 1925) will dictate who will inherit your estate. Whereas, by making a Will you can chose who you would like to benefit from your estate (whether it’s a charity, family or friends) and have a choice in the matter.

In a Will, you have the opportunity of leaving personal possessions or cash gifts. In a Letter of Wishes/Directions, you can set out any sentimental items that you may wish for an individual to have upon your death. A letter such as this is not legally binding however, can accompany a valid Will. Your Executors can use the same to carry out your instructions.

  • Unmarried couples
    If you are unmarried and would like your partner to benefit, leaving a Will is the only way to ensure that your partner is looked after. Under the rules of intestacy, your partner (even if you are engaged) will not legally be able to benefit from your estate.

3. Property

You may be a lucky enough to have gotten onto the property ladder and own a property in your 20s. Your property is an important asset which should be considered when thinking about what should happen to the property on your death. The doctrine of survivorship applies where the property is held as ‘joint tenants’. This means, upon the death of one joint owner, the surviving joint owner takes the property as a whole. In contrast, for property held as ‘tenants in common’, a Will is essential as the registered owner’s share in the property passes under the terms of their Will and not via survivorship. In the event you want a co-owner to inherit your share, you must have a Will or own as ‘joint tenants’.

  1. Digital Assets

We are living in a digital age and most people have a number of online accounts, whether it be photos, social media accounts or bank accounts. These may be of financial or sentimental value to you and your family. Digital Assets should be considered when planning for what happens when you die or even when you have lost capacity to manage your affairs.

  1. Pets

Pets hold a special place in our hearts and are very dear to us. You can leave a specific sum of money in your Will or leave a Letter of Wishes/Directions with your Will to provider further guidance to your Executors as to the degree of care you want for your fury friends.

For further information as to why you need a Will, Partner, Alexandra Milton explores the same in her guide.

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