7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Make a Will | Winston Solicitors Skip to main content

Posted on 5 March 2024

7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Make a Will

Posted in Advice

Read time: 9 minutes

Do You Feel It's Not the Right Time to Make a Will?

If you are someone who feels that now is not the right time to make a Will, then chances are you've given yourself one of the following reasons:

  1. I’m not old enough to make a Will.
  2. My loved ones will know what to do when I die.
  3. It would be obvious where I would want my children and pets to live if something happened to me.
  4. I don’t own a house or property of any kind, so there’s nothing to leave in a Will.
  5. I’m not bothered where my body ends up after I die.
  6. All the nomination and expression of wishes forms have been filled in where I work.
  7. I’d rather spend my money on fun things now, than plan and pay for something I won’t even be able to enjoy.  

If any of these points ring true for you, then you are not alone. Many people don’t consider Wills to apply to them, either right now, or at all. Why worry about what will happen after you die, when you’re so busy living right now?  

We asked our Private Client team for the top seven reasons you shouldn’t make a Will.

1. Wills are for Old People and You're Not Planning on Getting Older

You’re only as old as you feel. That’s what they say, at least. It could be that you’re reading this as a carefree 23-year-old with nothing further from your mind than your own funeral arrangements. Or you could be a super fit, 65-year-old gym bunny who’s showing no signs of slowing down. Whatever your age and circumstances, if you are over the age of 18, the only way to have control over what happens should you pass away is to make a Will.

Continue to do the things you’re passionate about throughout your life. No matter what age you are, staying active and positive is important. But it doesn't make you invincible. From cutting up an avocado to skydiving there is always a risk. Most of us do one of the riskiest things of all every single day: get into a motor vehicle. Most days you're taking some form of risk on your life, which proves you don’t have to be considered old to die, sadly.

Getting a Will drawn up requires some thought. It makes you face a part of human existence that most of us try not to dwell on too much. And yet time is the one thing we’re all running out of. No matter how you look at it, the world will carry on without you one day. But you can still have your say about what happens after you’re gone if you make a Will.

2. You Don’t Care How Your Loved Ones Feel After You Die

Dying without making a Will is called an intestacy. It can be incredibly stressful for those left behind when someone dies without leaving clear instructions. At a time when your loved ones will be grieving, dying intestate can leave them with a lot of awful admin. You may think that there’s an obvious choice of administrator. For example, if you have only been married once and are still with your spouse. But that isn’t necessarily the case. Someone else may apply to administer your estate.

If you die intestate, the probate process can take longer than with a Will, depending on how complicated your estate is. If you don’t make a Will, your family could end up fighting over who should administer your estate. It could also be the case that someone you wouldn’t want to handle your affairs becomes the administrator. Which would leave them to decide on your funeral arrangements, as well as the distribution of your possessions and money. Or even worse, someone you don’t want to inherit your estate actually is entitled to.

Not making a Will can also be problematic if you are recently separated from your spouse or civil partner but haven’t legally registered the separation. Under the rules of intestacy, your ex can still inherit if you haven’t formally specified otherwise. Definitely a reason to make or update your Will.

3. What Happens to Your Children and Pets Isn’t a Worry for You

What Happens to Your Children if You Don’t Make a Will and You Pass Away?

Without a Will in place, if you are married or in a civil partnership, your spouse inherits everything - your children only inherit something if your estate is worth more than £322,000. If you are on a second marriage with children from a first marriage, this could lead to your children being disinherited.  

If you have minor children and you die, usually the surviving parent would care for them. However, what if they can’t or won’t? Or what happens if both of you die? The children automatically become the responsibility of the Court. If you make a Will, the Court is likely to follow your wishes and appoint the guardian that you have chosen, However, if both you and their other parent die intestate, the Court will need to appoint a suitable guardian without input from either of you. They could appoint the person who is most closely related to the children. In the absence of close relatives, the Court will consider family friends or associates for child custody. Either way, it would be entirely out of your control.  

It might not be something you want to think about, but as a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure your children are cared for as you would wish should the worst happen.

How About Your Furrier Family Members?

We all know that pets become members of the family. Nonetheless, from a legal perspective, pets fall into the category of personal possessions. Which means that if you die without making a Will, whoever becomes the administrator of your estate will have the final say on where your pets end up. And that can include having your beloved animals put down, even if there is nothing wrong with them.

To ensure that your pets have a safe home after you’re gone, it’s essential to make a Will and add a pet clause.

4. You Don’t Own a Single Thing So Why Make a Will?

You may not have much wealth or many assets, but it is still important to make a Will. If you were to die intestate, anything you do own, whether of monetary or sentimental value, may be distributed in a way you would not have wanted. This includes items that have been passed down through generations, such as jewellery, watches and photographs. Not leaving clear instructions can lead to family members arguing over things that they feel you would have wanted them to have.

Dying without making a Will can also be devastating if you live with a partner but haven’t registered a marriage or a civil partnership. Without the presence of a Will, your partner is not entitled to inherit any assets. This could mean that they are left in a position where they are unable to pay the rent, mortgage or bills. They may not even be allowed to continue living in the home you shared. Remember, there is no legal recognition for ‘common law marriage’. Living together provides no protection to the other person, as a marriage or civil partnership could.  

5. They Can Just Throw Your Body into Landfill, for All You Care

The question of what happens after we’re no longer here is one that has tormented scientists, philosophers and theologians for centuries. The simple answer is that we just don’t know, and we probably never will. Well, until we reach the end of our own lives.  

Planning your own funeral might seem a tad macabre. However, it’s an inevitable conclusion for every single one of us. You will not be present, but do you really not care what happens?

Taking the Guesswork Out of Funeral Arrangements by Making a Will

Let’s say you’ve died intestate, and an estranged parent has been granted probate. Would they know what you would have wanted?  

How about your belief system? Whether you follow a faith, you adhere to a reconstructed religion like paganism, or you’re a devout atheist, you most likely want a funeral that suits your beliefs. If you die without making a Will, whoever is granted probate may have to arrange your funeral and won’t know what to do. They may arrange it the way they would want their own funeral to be (including what happens to your body).  

There are fairly few types of legal burials allowed in the UK, but you should be able to have your say as to what you would like to happen. Traditionally, bodies are buried in a cemetery, or cremated and ashes scattered or kept in an urn. However, you may have a different idea of what you would like to happen. If you have a passion for preserving the environment, for example, the idea of your final time on earth leaving a carbon footprint may fill you with dread. Traditional burials and cremations are both toxic for the environment, but if you die intestate, it’s likely that you will be buried in one of these two methods.

Here are the legal types of funerals you can have in the UK:

  • Cremation
  • Traditional burial
  • Natural burial
  • Woodland burial
  • Atheist ceremony
  • Burial at sea
  • Humanist ceremony
  • Independent ceremony
  • Life celebration
  • Military

Your final send-off should be about you, and one way to specify how your funeral should go is to put it in your Will.

6. You've Filled in the Nomination forms at Work Already

One of the documents you will have been asked to complete at your place of work is a Nomination of Wishes form. This relates solely to your employee pension and death benefit, and specifies who should be the beneficiary of your pension contributions after death. This will inform the Trustees of your pension scheme on what to do in terms of your pension. But it doesn’t dictate what will happen to the rest of your assets.  

Your nomination form should align with your Will. However, if there are discrepancies, your Will overrides any expression of wishes you have signed. To distribute your possessions and money the way you would choose, you need to make a Will.

7. If You Make a Will, It’ll Cost Money and You’d Rather Spend Yours While You’re Alive

You may feel that if you make a Will, you’ll end up shelling out a lot of money. While there is a cost attached to making a Will, the actual price may surprise you.  

Our prices are as follows:

  • £300+VAT for a single will  
  • £500+VAT for couple’s mirror wills  

(prices for more complex wills available on request)

At the end of the day, you can’t put a price on the peace of mind you’ll get knowing that your family is secure, no matter what happens.  

To Make a Will, Contact One of Our Wills Experts

If you are aged 18 and over, a professionally drawn up Will is the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death. If you die without a Will, anything that happens to your money, property or possessions could be out of the hands of your friends and family.

We can help talk you through the process of making a Will in simple terms. To speak to us about the importance of Wills (and powers of attorney, estates, trusts, and care fees, among other issues), please contact our Private Client team on 0113 320 5000, or email @email. And, if you still don’t think making a Will is right for you, you can talk it through with us, too.