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On seeing everyone’s #DecadeChallenge posts on social media over the New Year period, it came to light that if you were born in the late 80’s or early 90’s then it is likely that you and your peers have had a rather eventful decade!

 

Many people in their twenties and thirties have hit major life milestones and sometimes all these events happen at once. Reflecting on their last 10 years many have left university, gone travelling, started relationships, ended relationships, got engaged, got married, brought their first house, had children, started their career, started to save towards the future. Some people may have also experienced the loss of their parents or grandparents and been through a separation.

 

With all these achievements and life events whooshing by making a will could well be forgotten about, but it is at some of these critical times that the benefits of having a will are most valuable.

 

Why Do ‘Millennials’ Not Make Wills?

 

It might not be surprising to learn that only 12% of people aged under 34-years have made a Will.

 

Nobody likes to think about death or make arrangements for when the time comes, as when you are only young, death seems like a very long time away. The harsh reality is that we never know when our time is up no matter how well we look after ourselves.

 

In your twenties and thirties life doesn’t always seem so stable and family dynamics are constantly changing. It isn’t uncommon for people to ‘put off’ making a will until other major milestones have passed, only to be constantly chasing the next goal.

 

Also, people of a younger generation may not be aware of the later life planning that they can do now. Some people are under the illusion that all their assets would go to their partner if they lived together or that their family would be able to decide on how to distribute their assets. This is not the case at all and unmarried couples who live together are putting themselves at the most risk.

 

Key Life Triggers To Make A Will

 

As mentioned earlier, many of our major life events occur in our early thirties. The average age of UK first-time-buyers is 30 and the average age for marriage in the UK is currently 31. It is also between the ages of 30 and 31 that women become mothers for the first time.

 

So it really is a crucial time when you are busy accumulating assets, developing relationships and bringing up children that you should have your legal affairs in good order should anything happen to you or your partner.

 

Let’s take a look at the life events that are likely to happen in your twenties and thirties and the reasons why having a will is so important.

 

1. Living Together

 

More couples than ever are cohabiting before getting married or skipping the idea of marriage altogether. When you are in a happy long-term relationship it is normal to assume that your partner would take care of you if you became ill or passed away. But it is important to realise that things may not pan out how you think they should. Regardless of how long you have lived together, your property or assets are not likely to be passed onto your significant other. If you die without making a will the state will decide on how your assets are divided and you are leaving your partner exposed to the risk of losing their home.

 

Things to Consider: If you are buying a property together you should seek advice on how best to own the property – i.e. ‘tenants in common’ or ‘joint tenants’. This may depend on individual circumstances. If one of you is putting more into a property (i.e. a larger deposit or one of you is moving into the other’s property) then careful consideration should be given to what will happen if the relationship breaks down or one of your passes away. You should ensure that you have life insurance and a will to protect your wealth and ensure your partner is provided for.

 

2. Getting Married

 

Many people do not realise that an existing will is automatically revoked when you get married, so along with the dress fittings, cake tasting and band booking – ensure that you take time to update your will and talk about your intentions with your future husband/wife.

 

Upon marriage your assets/estate would automatically pass to your spouse, which may be exactly what you intended on happening. However, it is worth exploring whether you should also have a will in place as this will be able to encompass more planning – for example appoint guardians for children or make provisions for children of a previous relationship.

 

It is also worth remembering that the average engagement lasts 20 months and should anything happen to one of you before you have tied the knot, your fiancé could be left in a difficult situation.

 

Things to Consider: If your circumstances are more complex – such as you have been married before, have substantial assets individually or you have children from a previous relationship then you may want to speak to a Solicitor about a pre-nuptial agreement and a will to ensure you have adequate protection.

 

3. Having Children

 

This is one of the most life-changing events that can happen to us. While we focus on how to protect our children on a day-to-day basis – from installing car seats and stair-gates to feeding them the best diet and protecting them online, we should not overlook the importance of protecting them if we were to die whilst they are young.

 

It is not a nice prospect to consider, and the chances are that your children will be grown up and parents themselves when you pass away. However, on average 1 child in every school class will lose a parent before they turn 18, which is a very sad fact to digest.

 

If you have not been blessed with children of your own but have gone down the adoption or surrogacy route to become parents then careful consideration is required to ensure that your legal affairs are in order to protect your child.

 

Things to Consider: You should think about Guardians and appoint them in your will. This becomes even more vital when you have more complicated circumstances, such as children from a previous relationship or a child with disabilities or learning difficulties. You may also want to explore the use of trusts at this point.

 

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4. Accumulating Wealth

 

Women’s highest earning potential is usually in their 30’s whilst men hit their best earning potential in their 40’s. At this time when you are earning, saving and investing for your future it is sensible to consider how you plan to pass your hard-earned wealth onto in the future. What are you doing it all for?

 

Your thirties is an expensive time, so it may well be that your salary is spent on a large mortgage, bills and childcare or perhaps you have treated yourself to a nice new car on finance. However much you are saving for a rainy day it is unlikely that you would want the state to decide on how your assets are divided when you pass away.

 

Things to Consider: Make a will to outline your wishes. Also think about income protection, critical illness insurance and life insurance to ensure that your partner or your family are looked after should your earnings be taken out of the picture.

 

5. Getting Divorced

 

Often overlooked in the emotional upheaval of going through a divorce is getting an up-to-date will in place. The divorce process isn’t a quick one in most instances and passing away before your divorce is finalised could result in the spouse you are divorcing benefiting and your new partner or children being left out. The average age that people that divorce is typically somewhere between 44-49, however there a number of people facing divorce in their 20’s and 30’s and moving onto new relationships, taking some added complications with them.

 

Things to Consider: If you have a will, consider updating it. If you are yet to make one, then speak to a solicitor who can write your will ensuring that it is suited to your changing needs at this moment in time.

 

7. Digital Assets

 

This may not be everyone’s priority, but many people nowadays invest a lot of time into their digital lives and may have an idea of how they would want their accounts to be managed when they pass away. With a growing number of people having a career as a ‘Social Influencer’, ‘YouTuber’ or ‘Blogger’ these accounts along with BitCoin, could actually be worth a small fortune.

 

Things to Consider: Ensure that your devices are backed-up, password protected and that someone else that you trust is able to access your online accounts if required. Consider your legacy, how you want your platforms to be carried on or closed and what financial value they hold.

 

8. Beloved Pets

 

40% of households have a beloved pet, typically a cat or a dog who is part of the family. It can often be overlooked what happens to a pet when someone passes away. Most would hope that a family member or friend would take on their pet, however you can make provisions in your will.

 

For people who own livestock, are breeders, own pedigree pooches, horses or racehorses it is important to make sure you have the relevant protection in place in terms of insurance but also a contingency plan on what would happen upon your death to ensure they are in good hands.

 

Things to Consider: Make a will and outline your wishes and provisions for your beloved pet. Check that you have pet insurance.

 

Make Time to Make a Will

 

When you are busy trying to climb the career ladder, clean the house, bring up children and be a good spouse, it can be difficult to find the time to take care of the ‘life admin’ and often we all bury our heads in the sand at the thought of ‘adulting’.

 

But, now is the time to take care of your legal affairs and put a will in place. Whether it is just to protect you or to protect your partner, your business and your family as well.

 

We have a large team at Lamb Brooks who can guide you through the process of making a will and planning for your future. There is no need to feel apprehensive about meeting with someone to discuss your will and our team ensure that everything is explained in a way that you can understand.

 

The first step is to get in touch – you can call us on 01256 844888, email enquiries@lambbrooks.com or if the office is closed, or you prefer, you can speak to our Online Chat Assistant who will put you in touch with someone from the right department.

 

The next step is to carefully consider your circumstances and what your intentions are when it comes to distributing your assets and protecting your loved ones. To help with this, we will email you a will questionnaire that you can complete as much or as little of to get you started.

 

After this, you will meet with your solicitor, or speak to them over the phone, who will take your instructions and go away to prepare a draft will. Once you are happy, this will then need to be witnessed and signed before it is safely stored in our strong room until the day it is required.

 

Get in Touch

 

For more information or to make a start on this important document, please call Kayleigh Woolgar on 01256 844888 or email Kayleigh.woolgar@lambbrooks.com.

 

We appreciate that people are busy with work and their family life, so we try our best to fit around you. We are happy to communicate via email or skype if this is easier. And occasionally we are able to offer a Saturday morning appointment if this helps you to get on your way.

     

Other articles you may be interested in reading:

Could a Pre-Nup Save Your Marriage?

Buying Your First Home Together

5 Things you Need to Know if you are Living Together

A Quick Guide to Making a Will