How Old Can You Be To Make a Will.
This may sound bizare for most young people to think about writing a will. Most young people do not have wordly possessions to pass on to someone in the unfortunate event of their demise and to many people this would sound a little off to even suggest writing one.
However there are millennials in this world that have made more money than the average person has made in their life time, would most probably need to secure their assets, from Fornite Gaming, to Bitcoin Millionaires . Or it could be an inheritance where by a wealthy young person may decide to name people that could potentially benefit from their wealth in the unfortunate event of their passing.
One can never be too careful in this day and age, with fast cars, bio-warfare and AI anything could potentially happen, hence it is better to be safe than sorry and getting ones finances in order is imperative especailly if you have large amounts of equity or perceived equity, from buying, stocks and shares, property and land to name a few.
Therefore a young person must be at least 18 years old to make a Will, unless you are a solider on active duty or a sailor at sea, in which case you can be any age.
Who Can Make a Will?
To make a Will in England or Wales you must:
- Be aged 18 or over.
- Have ‘sound testamentary capacity’ (Sound Mind).
In certain circumstance there are actually two situations in which people under the age of 18 can be legally allowed to make a Will – if they are working for the ‘Ministry Of Defence’ as Soldiers on active duty, or they are MOD Sailors at sea. In these cases where persons have joined the establishment they are usually signed up as young as 16 yrs of age. Hence a young person is able to make a will even if they’re under the age of 18.
The law came into force in 1918, the year World War 1 came to an end. The law is intended to reflect the fact that young people can be placed in dangerous situations during the course of active duty serving the MOD and so should have the opportunity to record their wishes, if they were killed in action.
There is no upper age restrictions when making a Will, but you must be of ‘sound testamentary capacity’ (Sound Mind and have no mental issues, whereby they are incapable of making a decision themselves). This means that at the moment you sign your Will, you:
- Understand that you are giving your assets to your beneficiaries
- Understand and know the extent of your ‘Estate’, which is the collective term for everything you own
- Understand the implications of including certain people as beneficiaries, and the implications of excluding certain people from the Will
- Must not be influenced into making decisions that you would not have made, had you been of ‘sound mind’
The definition of a ‘sound testamentary capacity’ means that you are mentally capable of understanding what you are doing and the implications of signing your Will. However if the mental capacity of someone is in question, advice should be sought from a medical practitioner.
If you’re making a Will and you think your mental capacity could be called into question, you should ask at least one medical practitioner to act a witness. This will make it harder for anyone to say that you weren’t of sound mind when you made your Will.
Too Young to Make a Will?
Many people feel like they are too young to make a Will, and that they only need to think about it when they reach a ripe old age. However, making a Will isn’t something you should put off, and people of all ages should be encouraged to make one, even if they do not possess wordly estates at the time, they may acquire value over the years, however in years to come they may be to busy working to even have time to consider the implications if they did not have a will in place.
Never take a will for granted.
Again the benefits of writing a will when you are young is based on the fact you are of sound mind when making a Will. None of us knows what is waiting for us or round the corner, and more and more of us are developing conditions that could affect our minds. Therefore if you find yourself in a situation where your mental capacity has been adversely affected by illness, accident or injury, meaning you are not legally able to make a Will anymore and by that time it will be more difficult to secure your testament and make sure the people that you wish to make your will to will be compensated according to your wishes.
There are also life events that can cause us to secure a will especially if you have a family and you need to protect them should something happen to you. This is especially important if you have insurance. Most insurance companues will pay out in the event of sudden death and you have to make sure the people you wish to take control of your assets are aware of your wishes. You need to read the fine print to see what will be paid out and when and make sure people know who your power of attorney is, this could be a solicitors office or a bank or even an appointed person no relation to you.
It is especially important to make a Will at certain times in our life that are changing milestones in life, many of which will happen in your younger years. For instance, when you start a family, a Will allows you to say who should be their Legal Guardian if you die and the other parent has previously passed away. If you don’t appoint a Legal Guardian then it may end up being decided by the Courts and your child could end up a ward of court and put into care.
Other important life milestones that should prompt you into making or updating a Will include:
- Buying a house – so that you can set out who should inherit your share of the property or land.
- Getting married – because marriage invalidates any previous Wills that has been made as a legal partner also has rights to your estate.
- Starting a family, having a child.
- Getting divorced – making sure that should you divorce there is a clause to say how your Estate will be distributed and who will be entitled to the inheritance and the impact it may have on an existing Will.