Curtis Dunkley (Student)
When you turn 18 you can legally create a will. You may think that you are too young to be making a will, however this is often not the case. More than half of us are in full time employment by the time we turn 19. If you are employed then you will have more money, especially if you are still living with your parents. You may start to acquire more possessions of value like a car. You may have started saving for a house of your own or something else. Regardless, these are all things that you can leave to your loved ones in a will.
By the time that we are 27 most of us will be living with a partner. If you die before you have made a will, your partner will not inherit any of your belongings, regardless of your wishes unless you are married. There is currently no such thing as a ‘common law spouse’. If you want to ensure that your partner is looked after when you pass, you will need to create a will and put that intention into effect whilst you are still alive.
As a society, we are having children younger. When you have children, you will need to think about what will happen to them if you die. It is not just about choosing someone to look after their inheritance until they old enough to access it, you also need to appoint a guardian to raise your children. The need to create a valid will once you have children cannot be stressed enough – if your wishes are not known when you pass away, your children may be in between arguments with your family and friends at an already stressful time for them.
If you created a will and married after making it your will may be deemed invalid, unless it contained a clause in it stating that you intend for it to remain valid after your marriage. If you make a will that includes your spouse as a beneficiary and then get divorced, your ex-spouse will not be entitled to any inheritance that you left to them. In either scenario, your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy.
At the Staffordshire University Legal Advice Clinic (SULAC), law students offer free legal advice on probate matters and a number of other issues to members of the public. SULAC is currently open and you can visit us at Stoke Combined Courts, and at various locations around Stafford. For more information, or to book an appointment please contact: SULAC@staffs.ac.uk or call 01782 294800.