As a busy parent, death probably isn’t on your mind all that often.
Yes, young children do have an eerie ability to find and eat/climb/touch the one thing in any given place that will kill them. And yes, stepping on an abandoned Lego brick may, on occasion, make you feel like death is the preferable option.
But death, and wills, often take a backseat to more immediate problems. Like giving lifts (so many lifts) and prising the Lego out of your feet.
That’s a mistake. For parents, making a will is one of the most important things you can do for your family. Here’s why!
5 reasons every parent should make a will
Half term is over. After a week of juggling a full house, you finally have some time to yourself. Why not take 15 minutes to make your will? After all, you can…
1) Choose guardians
If you were to die tomorrow, who would you want to raise your children?
The obvious choice isn’t always the best one. The grandparents are an option – but kids can be exhausting, even for young sprightly people. You also might have siblings, but how close do they live? Who actually feels the same way as you about things like discipline, religion, medical care and education?
With a will, you get to pick guardians for your children in case something happens to you. That way, someone you trust will raise your kids the way you’d like them to be raised.
2) Protect a partner
Can your partner pay rent without your help? Or the mortgage? Would they be able to afford child care without your salary in the mix?
If the answer is ‘no’, a will is essential. Why?
If you and your partner aren’t married, they aren’t automatically entitled to any of your estate when you die. 3.3 million couples in the UK are cohabiting without that ring on the finger. If you’re one of them, you’ll need a will to make sure your partner would inherit anything from you.
If you and your partner are married, they STILL won’t necessarily get everything! They’re entitled to the first £270,000, all your belongings, plus half of whatever is left over (the rest goes to your kids).
This might seem fine and dandy. But there’s a real benefit to leaving your whole estate to your spouse: anything you give them can’t be taken in inheritance tax. Spending just £90 on a will could save your family thousands.
3) Protect your children
You might not want your partner to get everything if you die. After all, while we might like to imagine them mourning us forever, casting a single rose on our grave every day and never loving again, there’s a good chance your partner will find someone else – making their new partner their heir.
So, you might prefer to leave a decent portion of your estate to your children: a little untouchable nest egg that spouse 2.0 won’t be able to touch.
Similarly, your parents may well need care as they grow older. Without a will, they don’t have a claim to your estate unless you’re unmarried with no kids. You could set aside some funds to help them manage.
4) Prevent family disputes
No one wants their legacy to be a really bitter fight between their relatives. Least of all parents, after years of threatening to turn the car around if the kids don’t. stop. bickering.
With a will, you can make your wishes clear, and make sure everything is fair, too.
If there’s a family heirloom that would be better off with your sister than your partner, you can pass that on: fight prevented.
If you’re a step-parent, you might want to make sure your step-children get the same benefits as your biological children. Without a will, step-kids have no automatic claim to your estate, even if you’ve been acting as their parent for years.
5) And remember: it’s never too early
A lot of us put off making a will. Plenty of time for that later. But when you’re a parent, the consequences of dying without a will can be particularly painful for those left behind. And according to Child Bereavement UK, a parent of a child under 18 dies every 22 minutes in the UK – that’s around 23,600 people a year.
With a will, you can safeguard your family’s future, whatever happens.
Make a will today
It takes just 15 minutes to make a will with Beyond. Simply click here and answer our simple questions about your wishes, and we’ll turn them into a legally binding will. All you have to do is print and sign.
A simple will with a traditional solicitor costs between £150 and £500. At Beyond, it costs just £90 for a single will and £135 if you make yours with a partner. And for just £10 a year, you can get unlimited wills: that means that whenever something in your life changes, you can update your will quickly and easily. Perfect for growing families.