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Why you need a will in your twenties

View profile for Leah Woodnott
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Why you need a will in your twenties

At 25 years old, this week I decided it was time to get my life admin in order and write my own will.

Having previously worked in a Contested Probate team, and now working in the Wills, Trust and Probate team for over a year, really, I should have had a will in place many years ago, especially as my circumstances have changed significantly in recent years. As always, life gets in the way and there are constant battles as to what is at the top of my priority list.

By working in the Contested Probate team, I have seen first-hand the stressful situations families find themselves in when a will is contested or a person dies without making a will and financial provision has not been left for their loved ones. My team always advises clients on the importance of making a will and regularly reviewing it, but even I had not listened to my own advice.

This week, I sat down and had a think about my current situation. I am a homeowner, a partner to whom I am not married, and we have a house rabbit.

In my current situation, if I were to pass away without making a will, then the rules of intestacy set out who would inherit my estate. 

I have two parents and one sister; however, my estate would be split equally between my two parents and my sister would receive nothing. My loved ones are at various stages of life, with different financial requirements, and so it was important to ensure that I had thought through every eventuality that could happen if I were to pass away.

Various questions ran through my head, as follows:

  • Who would look after my house rabbit if my partner and I passed away?
  • What would happen to my house?
  • Who did I want to inherit my estate?
  • What would happen if my partner and my family all died before me?
  • Who would I want to look after my affairs after I’ve died?
  • Did I have any specific funeral wishes?

At lunchtime, I decided to draft my will, which I then signed with two colleagues witnessing it to ensure it was a valid will. I have left a side letter outlining who is to look after my rabbit should my partner and I pass away. I have also left a letter of explanation setting out why I have left my estate to those individuals.

It is likely that in time my circumstances will change, and the financial requirements of my loved ones will also change. I therefore need to keep my will under review for such events.

I appreciate that I am in quite a privileged position whilst writing this, as I have been fortunate enough to draft my own will and not have to incur the fees of instructing someone to do so. However, making a will does not have to be an expensive or a complicated process when you have a professional draft your will. 

You can read what to expect from a meeting with a specialist will lawyer here.

This week I had a sigh of relief knowing that my will was in order and that my loved ones and family members have been thought of, and you could too!  

If you would like to discuss making a will then please contact our specialist Wills, Trusts and Probate team. I am based in our Colchester office and can be contacted on 01206 217609 or leah.woodnott@birkettlong.co.uk.

 

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