Do you have a Will?

I hold my hands up and say that I do not have a Will, this is partly due to my disorganisation but more so because I don’t really know that much about them.

Do I really need one?
How do I organise making one?
What do I need to include within my Will?
If my circumstances change, how easy is it to make an amendment?

I honestly have no idea where to start.  I was sent the following information from Saga Legal and I wanted to share it with you in the vain hope see if I am not the only one who has not yet made a Will.

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Saga Legal have revealed the top misconceptions surrounding Wills, releasing a new study detailing the UK population’s biggest misunderstandings when it comes to Will planning.

Included in the top 10 misconceptions, and thought to be true by a number of those who answered the survey, were:

  • If I die without leaving a Will behind, my spouse would automatically inherit everything in both names. This is not true.
  • My Will must be written in a legally drafted document, as anything else will not be accepted as legally binding once I am dead. This is not true, and in fact, a Will can be in any form as long as it is signed by the Testator and witnessed by two people. In essence, it could be written on the back of an envelope – although it is not advised. 
  • If I made a Will before marriage, it is still valid after wedlock. This is, again, untrue.
The survey also showed stark contrast between age groups. While under 24s failed half the questions on average, older people showed a much wider understanding of Wills, with 45-54 year olds getting 90% of the questions right. Out of the UK regions, East Anglia was the most informed area, with again, a 90% success rate on the test.

Emma Myers for Saga Legal, commented:

“There’s clearly some way to go when it comes to educating people around Wills. Whilst Saga Legal customers are over 50, we often find that those responsible for Wills, executors, or those left in Wills are much younger, and as this survey suggests, have limited knowledge over what they are expected to deal with.”

Saga Legal are inviting bloggers to a live Google+ Hangout, taking place in January 2014, to put their questions to Saga Legal lawyer, Emma Myers. People can use the true or false questions below to test their knowledge of Wills:

  1. If I leave behind a written Will, there will be no need for probate once I die
  2. If I leave any outstanding debts unpaid after I die, these will have to be paid by my family members if there is no money in my estate to pay them
  3. I must ensure that the individual I name as an executor of my Will, is not also named as a beneficiary in that Will
  4. As long as I’ve told people what I want to happen with my estate, I don’t need a Will
  5. If I die without leaving a Will, my spouse will automatically inherit any estate and finances left in mine and their name
  6. My Will must be written in a legally formalised document – anything else will not be accepted as legally binding once I am dead
  7. I do not need to name my spouse in my Will – if I die, my estate and finances will automatically go to them before anyone else named as a beneficiary in my Will
  8. If I marry, the Will I have made beforehand is still valid
  9. If I get divorced, my Will becomes completely invalid
  10. Having a child automatically makes them a beneficiary of any Will I might have 
Disclosure: This post is brought to in collaboration with Saga Legal, although I really do need to make a Will.
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