Many people believe that they don’t need a will. They consider that their family and financial affairs are straightforward and that everything will just sort itself out when they pass away.

In fact, without a will, there can be many unintended consequences and missed opportunities. Here are just 10 good reasons to put a will in place.

1. You control who benefits from your estate. Without a will, the law decides who inherits, and that may not be who you expect it to be. Making your will puts you in charge.

However, even where a will excludes them, a spouse/civil partner and children have certain rights, so your solicitor will explain those rights to you so that you are fully aware of the likely position on your death.

2. Choose your executors. These are the people who deal with winding up your estate and deal with the necessary paperwork and distribution.

Without a will, this role may fall into the hands of someone you wouldn’t have considered to be the right person.

3. You can provide appropriately for children. Ensure that any inheritance is held in trust until they are of an age that you choose, whilst still allowing that inheritance to be used for their benefit before they reach that age, for example, for school fees. You can also indicate your wishes as to who should be legal guardian to your children if you die before they reach the age of 16.

4. You can use Trust provisions to deal with a wide range of situations, for example:

· Where you would like certain people to benefit, but you are concerned they wouldn’t be able to manage funds themselves.

· In blended families, where you wish to protect the inheritance of children from an earlier relationship, whilst still providing for your new partner.

· To provide some planning which might mitigate care costs in the future.

5. Tax planning can be catered for effectively through your will.

6. Business interests can be dealt with appropriately, taking into account succession and tax issues, and ensuring your executors have the powers they need.

7. Minimise costs, because without a will it can be necessary to obtain a special type of insurance policy before the authorities will allow your estate to be wound up.

8. Avoid disputes which can arise where your intentions are not made clear.

9. Provide legacies of specific items, provide for your pets, leave cash legacies to individuals or charities you wish to recognise.

10. Most importantly, have peace of mind knowing that you have done all that you can to make the process easier for your family and loved ones after you pass.