Faye Harlow Smith is a solicitor in our Private Client department and specialises in the preparation of wills. Faye has recently returned to the office from maternity leave so she knows that after having a baby you are extremely busy. There is so much to do to properly care for your new baby and the responsibility can be overwhelming, especially when thinking of the future. One question we are regularly asked is whether you need to make a new will after you have a baby.
After any big change to your circumstances, we would always recommend reviewing your will. Indeed, for many families the birth of their first child is often the catalyst for making your first will. You will want to ensure your children are properly protected and provided for in the event of your death. We know some parents find it very difficult to discuss this topic as it is unthinkable to not be there for your child but it is a reality that needs to be thought of and prepared for. We are sensitive to these feelings and we will give you a warm welcoming
space to privately discuss your estate and what you would like to happen. We work to make the process as straightforward as possible and most parents tell us that it is a weight off their mind and a relief when they can tick ‘Make new wills’ off of their to do list. Here are the three main reasons why we would recommend all new parents make a new will:
- Opportunity to appoint guardians
In your will you can choose to appoint guardians for your children. These are the people you would trust to care for your children and to make decisions about your children’s health and wellbeing. Your children do not have to move in with the guardians, although they often will, but your guardians will have the authority to make decisions about where your children should live, what school they should go to and how they are looked after.
- Understand the risks if you die without a will
If you die without a will then your estate in England and Wales will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules. These are strict rules which govern who inherits your estate. If you have children, this changes who would inherit as they are given priority. A spouse would receive provision but is no longer entitled to your whole estate automatically. This can cause significant problems for surviving spouses and should be carefully considered. You should also be aware that the intestacy rules make no provision for unmarried partners even if you are living together and now have a child together.
- Include trust provisions to protect your children whilst they are too young to inherit
A professionally drafted will can include trust provisions to protect any inheritance that will pass to your
children whilst they are too young to manage the money themselves. You can appoint trustees who will make decisions about how your money and assets will be used to best benefit your children. You can include an age when you are happy for your children to inherit free of trust- many parents go for 21. This gives you the reassurance that before this age there will be someone responsible for ensuring your estate is used to raise and provide for your children and would not make them vulnerable by giving them access to large funds.
Get in Touch
If you would like to make a new will with Hart Reade or discuss any of the points raised in this update please do not hesitate to contact us using the contact form below or by phone on 01323 727 321.
Please note the above is for information purposes only and is intended to be a short summary. It should not be treated as a comprehensive guide and should not be acted on without qualified legal advice.