Writing a will is an essential part of planning for the future – here’s why you shouldn’t put it off any longer.

Writing a will lets you decide how your estate (your belongings, money and property) will be divided and given out after you’re gone. A last will and testament is a vital part of getting your affairs in order and planning ahead.

Here are just five reasons why creating a will is essential.

1. Make sure your estate is distributed how you want

If you die without a will, your estate will be subject to laws of intestacy. This means that all your money, possessions and property will be divided up according to pre-defined laws.

Some people who you want to receive money or belongings may not receive anything under intestacy laws. For example, if you live with a partner who you are not married to or in a civil partnership with, they will receive nothing if you die intestate.

It’s better to set out your beneficiaries (people who will inherit) clearly in your will so that they’re not left without financial support.

2. Avoid costly legal procedures for your family

If you pass away without a valid will, your family will have to deal with complicated intestacy laws to determine how your estate is managed. They may need to hire a solicitor to help them, which will cost a significant amount of money, depending on how complicated your estate is.

By investing in a solicitor now to help you write a clear, legally valid will, everything will be simpler for your loved ones when the time comes.

3. Leave gifts to your loved ones

Apart from dividing up the main assets of your estate, such as a house or savings, a will can also specify particular possessions or sums of money to be given to your loved ones.

For example, some people will leave a particular item of jewellery to a niece, nephew or close friend – people who would not usually inherit anything from an intestate will. You can outline exactly who will receive what in your will.

4. Outline your funeral wishes and funeral plans

Your will is also an opportunity to tell your loved ones what you’d like for your funeral. You can give information of any funeral plan you might have bought and any special requests for your final farewell.

However, remember that in some cases your family may not be able to read the will before the funeral arrangements are made. Make sure that you tell them about your funeral plan in advance and that they know where to find relevant documentations.

5. Choose your executor

Writing a will lets you nominate one or more executors who will be responsible for managing your estate. It will be their job to pay Inheritance Tax, pay off any debts owed by the estate, and make sure the assets are given out as specified in your will.

You should choose someone who is trustworthy and responsible. They will need to be organised and able to take on the duties of an executor. As well as naming them in your will, make sure you let them know your decision so that they are prepared when the time comes.

If you’re planning for the future, find out why buying a funeral plan is the best way to secure the cost of funeral director fees and make arrangements in advance.