Paid collaboration with CJCH Solicitors
Cardiff Mummy Says is delighted to be working with CJCH Solicitors on an ongoing series of articles exploring legal matters relating to families. The series has already covered how to appeal a school admissions decision if your child didn’t get into your first-choice school; as well as where families of school-age children stand if they go on a term-time holiday.
This month Sally Perrett and Jodi Winter from CJCH’s Barry practice offer their expertise on why it’s so important for parents to make a will.
Please note that while all articles will be written in good faith by legal experts using the latest laws in Wales and England each legal case is different and these articles are not a substitute for individual legal advice.
CJCH cannot comment in these articles on individual cases. However they are delighted to offer Cardiff Mummy Says readers a free initial ‘case validation’ assessment of your matter (T&C apply, assessment may take place in person, via telephone or email). If you’re unsure if your matter can be pursued then get in touch via email or telephone to provide the facts of your case, and the team will assess the matter free of charge and confirm if they are able to act for you. CJCH are also offering Cardiff Mummy Says readers a 10% discount on their legal services (excludes external costs such as court costs and third party services and fees and does not apply to wills). Just quote Cardiff Mummy when getting in touch.
CJCH is a Wales top-20 law firm with headquarters in Cardiff, has grown to more than 100 members of staff. Its expertise covers the full range of legal services including commercial, corporate, dispute resolution, intellectual property, mental health, employment law, motoring, property, family, child care, crime, wills and probate.
Making a will may well be the last thing on your mind as a busy parent. Or perhaps it seems far too morbid or premature to consider at this early stage.
However it is part of your responsibility to your children and family.
If you were to die without a will it could lead to uncertainty and financial worry for your family and dependents. There are factors to think about when considering what to put in your will that a lot of people don’t even realise they need to think about.
It may seem like a lot of forward planning. However, if not considered, these main factors add stress to an already catastrophically emotional situation for a family when a tragedy arises.
Here are five reasons why it’s so important for parents to make a will.
1. Making a will puts you in charge of what happens to your estate
If you were to die without a will, your estate (bank accounts, real estate and other assets you own) would be divided according to a complex set of laws called intestacy rules, with a Court potentially deciding how to apply them to your estate. Your spouse, cohabitee, partner or civil partner won’t automatically inherit everything. By writing a will, you can make sure that if you or your partner were to die, your family would be provided for and your estate would be divided the way you want it to be.
2. Making a will allows you to appoint a guardian for your children
It’s not all about the money however. More importantly, making a will allows you to appoint a guardian for your children. In the very worst case, if you and your child’s/children’s other parent were to pass away together, your local authority or the court could be left to decide who should look after your children. There are other circumstances to consider such as whether both your parents or family members would all agree who should care for your children full time and could this potentially lead to difficulties within your families? That is if you both still have your parents alive and well enough to care for your children until their adulthood and siblings willing to care for your children. Would you automatically want your parents or siblings to care for your children or would you prefer for a friend who is closer to them to look after them?
There are many parents who are no longer in a relationship and living together and therefore, as difficult as it may seem, having discussions about what would happen in the event either parent were to die and making wishes known could mean there is no conflict were the worst to happen, and everyone simply agreed to co-operate to implement what they have already decided is the best arrangement for the child/ren. Again, alleviating a great deal of stress for everyone involved.
Further, you may not consider the surviving biological parent as suitable to care for your child/ren if you were to pass away.
When making your will, think carefully about who you would appoint as a guardian and keep in mind that the appointment of a guardian automatically ends when your children reach the age of eighteen. It is possible for this choice of guardian to be challenged either by a surviving parent or family member. However a court would only ever make a decision that was in the child’s/children’s best interests and take into account their wishes and feelings if they were old enough to vocalise them.
3. Making a will allows you to plan how to cover the expense of bringing up your children
It is also important to think about how you could arrange to cover the expense of bringing up your children in the event of your death (if possible). You may be thinking you have an overdraft not savings. However, think about whether you or your partner has life insurance or a pension scheme or other assets held in trust that will need to be passed down within your will. If you want your children to inherit these financial products, you’ll need to contact each provider and nominate your children as your beneficiaries.
4. Making a will allows you to appoint a trustee for your estate on behalf of your child
If you were to pass away before the age your children could inherit your estate, it would need to be held in trust. A nominated trusted person would need to be included in the will to manage the trust (usually the same person as the appointed guardian). You will also need to consider at what age you want your children to receive full control of their inheritance. Unless the will says otherwise, they will automatically receive access to their assets at age eighteen. Before this age, your child/ren could still benefit from their inheritance but would not be able to manage it personally.
5. Getting married will revoke an existing will
When you marry or enter into a civil partnership, any existing will is automatically revoked. After your marriage, you should therefore arrange to have a new will drafted to ensure your wishes are carried out.
Alternatively, if you’re planning to marry soon, you can include a clause in your will stating that you anticipate marrying your (named) fiancé and that the will is to be effective both before and after your marriage.
If you wish for a solicitor to draft your will, CJCH Solicitors charge £150 inclusive of VAT.