7 good reasons why it’s essential to make a will and keep it up to date

Posted on

Will Aid is a charity set up with the aim of raising money for vulnerable people, both in the UK and abroad.

It does this by encouraging people to sort out one of the most important financial arrangements – making a will. November 2021 is “Will Aid Month.”

Although making a will is relatively straightforward and inexpensive, Will Aid research has revealed that 49% of UK adults don’t have one in place.

One of the commonest reasons people gave for not having one was that they didn’t want to contemplate their own death. Thinking about your own mortality is never easy, but it’s a nettle you should really be grasping as soon as possible.

If making a will is something you’ve been putting off, here are seven excellent reasons to make writing or updating your will a priority.

1. Ensure your executors can distribute your assets in the way you want

Without a will, a solicitor will be appointed to distribute your estate according to intestacy rules.

The intestate rules are strict, and will usually mean that only spouses, partners, and close family will inherit.

This can be very different from what you want, particularly if you are unmarried, have a complex family or want to leave something to several people. The only way to ensure your wishes are followed is to write a will.

2. Reduce stress for your family at a difficult time

Your death will be an emotional time for your loved ones.

Ensuring that your financial affairs are well-managed, and that you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure your assets are smoothly distributed after you die, will give them some comfort and one less thing to have to worry about.

It will also give you peace of mind knowing that you have taken tangible steps to make their lives easier.

3. Reduce family conflict

As well as reducing stress in the immediate aftermath of your death, making a will can also help reduce another cause of angst further down the road – conflict over how your assets should be distributed.

Setting out your wishes clearly in a will can avoid disputes and reduce the risk of family conflicts arising. This can often happen in certain circumstances, such as if you’ve previously been divorced, or have both children and stepchildren.

It’s also advisable to speak to your family about your intentions when you’re drawing up your will. This will help them understand why you’ve made the decisions you have.

4. Secure the financial future of your loved ones

When you’re drawing up your will, you’re clearly thinking about the eventual scenario where you’re no longer around to care and provide for your loved ones.

So, it’s a comfortable thought to hold that, by making a will, you’re going some way to securing their financial future after you’ve passed on.

5. Name a guardian for your children

The Will Aid research also revealed that only a quarter of parents who have made a will named a guardian for their underage children.

It’s obviously not a pleasant thing to have to think about, but it can be salutary for you to consider what would happen to your children should the very worst happen to yourself and your spouse or partner.

By outlining your wishes and naming guardians in your will, you can easily avoid the decision being made by the courts – with all the stress and emotional upheaval that would entail for your children and other family members.

6. Potentially reduce the Inheritance Tax bill payable on your estate

Inheritance Tax (IHT) will be payable on the value of your estate when you die if the overall value exceeds a certain amount.

Writing a will can help you maximise allowances so that you can pass on more of your wealth to your family and minimise the amount that goes to HMRC.

You can leave £325,000 to family members without any IHT being due. You can also leave your main home to your children or grandchildren and take advantage of the “residence nil-rate band” up to £175,000.

You may also be able to place some assets in a trust and pass them to your loved ones as a clause in your will – and so keep them potentially exempt from consideration for IHT purposes.

You should bear in mind that setting up trusts can be complicated, and you should seek expert advice if you’re thinking of doing this.

7. Adapt to suit your changing circumstances

Making a will is a straightforward process, and it’s equally easy to amend or update it.

So, once you’ve made a will you should look to review it regularly to ensure it’s still appropriate to your wishes.

Circumstances change over time, and your will may need to change to reflect this. Some events that may necessitate you updating your will could include:

  • Becoming a grandparent
  • Divorcing and remarrying
  • Inheriting a large sum of money.

Need help setting up your will?

If you currently don’t have a will, hopefully this article has given you the incentive you need to set one up.

If you’re looking for an expert estate planning service, we have teamed up with Hillyer McKeown (HM), a law firm with a wealth of experience in helping clients draw up their will.

Alexandra Nuttall is the supervisor of the Lifetime Planning team at HM, and she would be more than happy to speak with you. To find out how HM can help to you ensure your wishes are carried out when you pass away, get in touch.

Email Alexandra at aen@law.uk.com or call 0151 666 0739.

Get in touch

If you’d like to discuss the value of your estate and how you can pass on assets to your loved ones, please contact us.

You can email us at enquiries@blackswanfp.co.uk or contact your adviser on 020 3828 8100.

Please note

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning, tax planning or will writing.


We aim to keep our clients up to date on interesting and relevant financial news.

You can sign-up to receive our monthly newsletter by email, even if you’re not yet a client. Sign-up using the form below.

Client testimonials

I have always found Black Swan to be caring and understanding of my quirky lifestyle. I always feel they try to get me the best returns while respecting my current needs.

Sally Muir

A client since 2011

We would be very happy to recommend the support and service we receive.

Valerie Locks

A client since 2010

I have always been completely useless regarding finance - thankfully our financial adviser is not! I've retired with far more than I ever expected and investments continue to grow safely. So - thank you!

Bernadette Jane Warner

A client since 2000

Very happy with the professional service I have received and feel a lot happier now with my finances put in order.

Martin Field

A client since 2011

Julie Cooper was recommended to me by a work colleague. She has been very helpful, professional and has explained everything well. I would definitely recommend her services to anyone else who are interested in a financial review.

Steven Rooke

A client since 2018

…Service has been first class.

Hugh Fells

A client since 2012

My face to face meetings with Rob Young and Jessica Lyons have always been very open and understandable. My questions have been answered clearly and I have left feeling that my financial matters are in good hands.

Sandra Jack

A client since 2000

[A] safe pair of hands in a complex financial world.

Gary Middlehurst

A client since 2003

A reliable company with good communication skills and good knowledge of the financial markets.

Alan Evetts

A client since 2014

Maureen Pembridge is a long-time trusted advisor to our family. The market might fluctuate but her attention to detail is consistent.

Linda Burnard

A client since 2000

I am pleased to recommend Julie as a trustworthy financial advisor. She explains financial jargon in plain language, and always listens carefully to my particular financial needs and has helped me make the best of my savings.

Carolann Samuels

A client since 2010

I have always been satisfied with the way that Black Swan has handled my account. And I have always found the staff very helpful whenever I need to call the office.

Robert Anthony Matthews

A client since 2012

An excellent personal service from a person I know and trust.

Michael Dalton

A client since 2010

I am getting a very good services from Black Swan, they have got my investments sorted out which was in a bit of a mess.

Roy Jakens

A client since 2012

A good, efficient team providing clear ideas to shape a winning strategy.

Adrian Michael Levenstein

A client since 2011

Black Swan is a company to be trusted, with friendly staff and professional advisors.

David Brian Jennings

A client since 2017

I have been with Black Swan for many years. I have never wished to change anything. They give a good straight forward service.

Martin Barrett Brooks

A client since 2010

Andy Peters has been invaluable in firstly combining several pension pots and then giving excellent investment advice. It has given us a great deal of comfort to know that our financial affairs are in such good hands.

James Guillum Scott

A client since 2014

I find my financial advisor easy to talk to and feel that she understands my lifestyle. She is always available for help when I need her and explains in words that I can understand.

Margaret Ena Glasgow

A client since 2000

Andy is a first rate Director, excellent communicator and leader.

Ross Perry

A client since

Black Swan Financial Planning and Andrew in particular, are very clever at working out how risk averse we are, and coming up with solutions that we feel comfortable with. We are happy in the knowledge that we can continue to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Andrew Peters is a very, very friendly person who is great to chat to and easy to deal with. He explains things very clearly in layman’s terms, and if we still don’t understand, he explains it until we do!

Alan & Jane Dyer

Clients since 2012

We have always found Rob [Young] to be very approachable and knowledgeable. We have every confidence in the advice given and feel comfortable with the decisions we’ve made. There are certain opportunities that we wouldn’t have known about if Rob hadn’t brought them to light, which makes the advice good value for money as far as we’re concerned.

Peter & Pauline O’Halloran

Clients since 2013

Rob [Young] is extremely knowledgeable. I knew nothing about the different types of trusts which will not only secure my income in retirement, but also leave a legacy for my children. I’m glad that I sought his advice when I did.

Sarah Wilson

A client since 2015

I am extremely happy with the service afforded to me by the company and my adviser Julie Cooper.

Geoff Coxell

A client since 2010

My wife and myself have been dealing with Black Swan for a number of years. We have met with different representatives from the company over the years and have found all very helpful in their own way. We met with James [Anderson] a few years ago and found him very helpful and knowledgeable. He keeps in contact with us on a regular basis. We find the Company information very helpful and we feel very secure with our finances.

Andrew Kirchen

A client since 2015

I have always found my adviser to be easy to contact, very professional in his approach, yet friendly and understanding. I have a sense of an experienced company behind him, really on the ball financially and with good standards.

B McBean

A client since 2011

Partner with the most reliable and experienced team of advisers

Enter your details & we'll be in touch to discuss your needs.
Alternatively, contact us directly and speak to a member of the team.

    Subscribe to our newsletter