Am I too young to write a Will?

The majority of people in the UK wait until they are at least fifty to write their Will. Research in 2020, conducted by Will writing software Willsuite, discovered that the average age of people making a Will in England and Wales is fifty-eight.

But is this too late to write your Will, or can you wait until later life to start to consider this difficult prospect?

If you were to die suddenly, before you have made your Will, your estate would pass into Probate, and Intestacy Rules would be used to deal with it. Ultimately, a court would decide how to divide your estate and who the beneficiaries would be.

In England and Wales, you can legally write a Will as soon as you become an adult at the age of eighteen. But, for the majority of adults this is deemed too young. However, if any of the following statements apply to you, then you should be thinking of writing a Will now.

I have children and I want to ensure they are looked after if I die

If your children are aged under eighteen, a Will can be used upon your passing, to stipulate who will care for your children. You can use your Will to appoint a legal guardian should you die, and you can state your wishes, as to who should be the guardian of your children should both you and the other parent die. Without a Will, a Court could appoint the guardian of your children, so by having a legal Will in place, it is more likely that your wishes will be adhered to.

I cohabit with a partner who is not my husband, wife, or civil partner

When you are younger you are more likely to be living with your partner before you consider marriage, but did you know, that in the UK cohabiting with a partner, otherwise known as common law marriage, does not legally exist. So, even if you have lived with your partner for some time, if you own a property, and even if you have children, if you were to die without a Will, the current rules of intestacy in the law means that your partner would not be entitled to anything from your estate.

I know what I want to happen at my funeral

This is a topic that no one really wants to consider or discuss, especially at a youthful age. However, you may have firm wishes on how you want your funeral to be conducted. Do you want to be cremated or buried? Do you want a religious ceremony, or would you prefer a simple direct cremation and memorial? Only by including your wishes for your funeral in a Will, do you have the peace of mind that your family will know what you would like to happen and that your wishes will be adhered to. However, funeral wishes, even in a Will are not legally binding, but by including your wishes additional stress and potential family disputes can be avoided by clearly stating what you would like to happen, when you die.

I have pets and want to make sure they are cared for, should I die

We are a nation of animal lovers, and in the UK, we really do treat our pets as part of the family. If you have pets, do you know what would happen to them if you died? By including your wishes of who would care for your pets, should the worse happen, you can have peace of mind that they will be looked after. Some people also leave money for the person who has agreed to care for their pets, to cover any potential vet’s expenses, food, and grooming needs.

I have an heirloom that I would like a specific family member to receive

You may have an item of jewellery that you want your best friend to have, or a designer handbag that your niece has always coveted, and you would like to make sure that your wishes were respected, if you died. By stating your wishes, like these in your Will, will ensure that the family or friends who you would want to receive your heirlooms, upon your death, would get them. The same goes for set sums of money, from your estate.

I have many social media accounts, email accounts and picture libraries

These are known as digital assets, and if you have assets such as photographs, music libraries and film libraries stored online, you may want a specific person to deal with this and to make provisions for them, upon the event of your death. 

I do not want my ex to receive anything from my estate

You may have separated from your spouse, but not legally divorced. If this is the case, and you were to die without a Will, then they could, under law, still inherit from you. If you do not want your ex-partner to inherit from your estate, you need to clearly state this in a Will, and state who you wish the beneficiary to be. The ex-partner could still contest your Will in a court of law, but it helps your case if your wishes are stated in a legal Will.

So, if you are aged eighteen or over and any of the above statements apply to you, you should be considering writing your Will to ensure that your wishes are known and where possible, adhered to. You may feel that you are too young, but if you prepare now, your family would be saved from the potential stress and disputes which can arise for someone dying without having a Will in place.