One of the many good reasons to make a will as soon as possible is for the peace of mind you will then enjoy. You’ll be able to relax knowing you have done everything you can to secure a prosperous long-term future for your loved ones.
Sadly, however, life and death do not always unfold according to our hopes and plans. A will can certainly bring you peace of mind but, if you act insensitively, a will can also bring distress and conflict to your family, loved ones and friends.
Here are four points of advice as you decide how to distribute your estate (the entirety of your money and property at the time of your death) through your will:
- For now, try to ignore your emotions and be objective. Don’t make your will when you feel upset (after a family argument, for example) or even particularly happy (say, after the birth of a grandchild); in those moments, you might not be thinking clearly enough to make the best, balanced decisions for the long term. Expert, objective advice is often very helpful, especially in a relaxed and neutral environment away from the family home. Why not visit our office near Chester?
- Remember, wills are often read as if money is a measure of love. You might, for example, instinctively feel you should leave the greatest share of your estate to your widowed son raising your three grandchildren. After all, together they statistically represent a unit totalling four people you love very much. But are they your only consideration? Based on the distribution of your estate in your will, do you want your single, childless daughter to spend the rest of her life feeling you loved her less than your son simply because she ‘gave you no grandchildren’?
- Don’t assume the people you trust now will follow your unwritten wishes after your death. Situations change and so can people. Although you truly believe that if you leave your entire estate to your second husband, he will “obviously” (your word) take financial care of your children from your first marriage, what if he marries again? He might suddenly focus all his attention on taking care of his new wife…with your money.
- Don’t forget families have a remarkable ability to generate conflict among themselves, even in happy times, let alone after a death. Have you ever been through a family Christmas that began joyfully but somehow ended in tears? Or seen a rift last for years simply because someone wasn’t invited to a wedding? If you leave any room at all for confusion and disagreement in your will, there’s a very good chance confusion and disagreement will indeed develop straight after your death.