Making sure your children are safe after your death

Making sure your children are safe after your death

Preparing for your death can be a daunting prospect and something most of us would rather not think about.

But the coronavirus outbreak has put into perspective how fragile life can be and that we need to be prepared for the worst, just in case.

A survey carried out by Will Aid last year revealed 48% of parents with children under the age of 18 do not have a will in place.

This means their children may not have an assigned guardian, someone who will take on parental responsibility in the case of their death.

If a guardian has not been appointed, and no other parent with parental responsibility exists, then it will be up to a court to decide their fate.

The person the court appoints may not be someone the child knows and could lead to disputes and conflict between family members.

Many assume a will is unnecessary in respect of their possessions and that their estate will automatically be transferred to their nearest and dearest.

However, anyone who dies without a will is intestate, meaning their possessions and assets must be shared out according to certain rules that often do not take personal circumstances into account.

The surviving partner of a couple who were not married or in a civil partnership has no automatic right to inherit.

This means you could have lived with your partner for 20 years and have three children with them and still have no legal right to their estate.

A will can be useful for married couples too, leaving the surviving spouse confident that their loved-one’s last wishes were carried out to the letter.

Will Aid Month, which takes place across the country, runs from 01-30 November.

Solicitors who take part provide the will-writing service for local people and waive their usual fee. Instead, will makers are invited to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid which is then split between nine of the UK’s best-loved charities.

Our suggested voluntary donation for a basic Will Aid will is £100 for a single will and £180 for a pair of mirror wills.

The money raised is split between the nine Will Aid charity partners – ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland), Sightsavers and Trocaire (Northern Ireland).

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