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Three reasons why you need a Will even if your bank balance is near zero

Death is not a subject many young people contemplate much and nor should they. But as it is one of life’s few certainties, it is important to make sure certain provisions have been made. This post will explain why you need a will, regardless of your age or bank balance.

This is really important as it will ensure your assets are passed on to the people or charities you want. As an added bonus, it is also a useful way of gaining a clear overview of your current financial situation and assessing exactly what assets you have in your name.

So often, I hear people say: ‘I don’t have enough money’ or ‘I’m too young to worry about a will’. However, I argue that this doesn’t matter at all.

Here are three reasons why it doesn’t matter:

It’s important to note that this does not constitute personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment or savings account is right for you please seek professional financial advice.

Digital assets and physical possessions

You may not have much money sitting in your bank account, but think about everything you own.

Digital assets include, but are not limited to, email accounts, website domain names, social media profiles, online banking and investment accounts, and data stored on PCs, mobile phones, tablets and other devices. Even your blog or online business is a digital asset. This is a key reason why you need a will, particularly if you’ve been monetising your site.

There’s been a number of cases of families trying to gain access to pictures and other accounts after a loved one has passed away. You can make a difficult time much easier for those left behind by having everything stored safely in one easy-to-access location. Many law firms now offer a ‘digital portal’ where you can safely store passwords and other digital assets.

Most people think a house or property is the only possession worth mentioning. But this is not the case. If you add up all your possessions, you’d likely be surprised by the total value. Consider your car, laptop, phone, jewellery, or a watch, even your clothes have a certain value. Additionally, there may be sentimental items. Although they don’t have significant material value, they are important to you and you’d want them to end up in the right hands.

Why you need a will. A woman sits in front of a laptop with a calculator, working out her budget.

Cohabitation

Cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type according to the ONS. 5 million (10.4 percent of the population) living with a partner unmarried in 2018.

However, the law is yet to catch up with the changing demographic of families. When a couple is married, if one of the spouses dies, all assets will automatically be passed on to the other spouse, unless clearly stated in a legal, valid will.

Despite many people believing it does, ‘Common law marriage’ does not exist in the UK. This means cohabiting couples do not benefit from the same treatment as married couples. Your partner could be left with nothing if you don’t make adequate provisions for them in a will. This could lead to your partner having to move out of your home or get caught up in messy legal battles.

I’m sure most people would want to make sure their partner is secure and financially stable, if possible, if the worst were to happen. Having an up-to-date will is the simplest way to ensure this.

Of course, if the relationship does break down or you have children, you should update your will to reflect your circumstances. Do you want your ex to receive your money and/or assets if you pass away?

Money

Money is a key reason why you need a will.

Even if you don’t have much cash in your current account, it’s likely you still have something to pass on. Just £1,000 could make a big difference with someone. Wouldn’t you want to decide where that went? You worked hard to earn the money, you should be in control of where it goes, not a lawyer or a judge.

Cases end up in court regularly, usually when there isn’t a will, or it is not clear. This is often painful for those left behind and causes a lot of tension and arguments. Taking the time to write a comprehensive and valid will can remove this pain and make a difficult time easier for your loved ones.

You may also have some money put aside in a savings account or Premium Bonds. This may have been set up a long time ago by a family member, so it’s worth checking these too. This is also a useful exercise to establish how much money you have and work out what you need to do to achieve your goals.

Some jobs also have a death in service policy, which can be up to 4 or 5 times your annual salary, tax free. Check your contract to see if this applies to you or if your company offers a similar benefit. If so, I’m sure you’ll want to make sure this ends up in the right person’s hands as this could amount to a significant sum.

Don’t forget about your pension

Pensions are another asset we often forget about. These can be confusing, so I explain more about pensions in this post.

Even if you don’t have a private pension, you should have a workplace pension. Over time this can gather significant value. Even after a year of regular contributions, you would be surprised how much is in your pension pot. Again, this could make a huge difference to a family member or a charity if you make your wishes clear in a will.

I hope this post explained why you need a will. If you found it interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so please do leave a comment! Do you have a will or are you thinking of making one?

By The Twenty Percent

Hi I'm Katie and I use my blog to help young people take control of their personal finances.

6 replies on “Three reasons why you need a Will even if your bank balance is near zero”

It’s interesting to hear about the differences in survivor rules and laws between the UK and other countries. If you want to make sure your assets are distributed as you wish, a will is important. Even more important, at least in the USA, is a trust. Having a trust prevents the estate from going through probate, which is a lengthy and expensive process.

Although if you don’t have many assets and don’t have any dependents, you may not need a will or trust when you are young. Once you have assets such as brokerage accounts, savings, a house, etc., then you might want to set up a will or trust. In the USA, pensions have beneficiaries – it’s important to keep those up to date. If you get divorced, you will want to change your beneficiary (if it had been your ex).

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