Writing your Will and thinking of the inevitable isn’t really something that most of us want to think about BUT it’s so important that we do. After all, we want to make sure that our family is protected and that all our hard-earned money and belongings are dealt with according to our wishes so there will be no need for anyone to be contesting a will and causing more stress than is necessary at an already difficult time.
Follow these tips and make a tough job, that little bit easier:
Carefully select who will draw up your Will
If your wishes are relatively simple then it’s possible to do buy a write-your-own-kit from high street shops like WH Smith but if it likely to be more complicated then it would be best to use the professional help of an experienced Solicitor or Will writer so that you can be sure you have everything covered.
Choosing your Executors
The Executors are those who you appoint to carry out your wishes after you have passed away. It involves a lot of responsibility and takes a considerable amount of time so choose your Executors wisely and make sure you have their permission to make them an executor. Often this might be your spouse/partner, your siblings or children if they are adults.
Consider a default/substitute Executor
If your main executor happens to be your spouse or partner, consider adding a default/substitute partner in the rather unfortunate circumstance that you might die together in an accident. The responsibility would then fall to the default Executor if both of you have passed away.
When to appoint a Legal Guardian
If you have children aged 18 years or under then it is necessary for you to appoint Guardians for your children otherwise this will be decided by the Court. In the case of an unmarried couple, this doesn’t always mean that the remaining parent shall be given guardianship so make sure you make it clear where you want your children to be cared for.
A Trustee is the person who will manage your finances and assets after your passing if the beneficiaries of your Will are aged under 18 years at the time of your passing. This person needs to be someone who has a good head for figures and would seek good advice on how to take care of your money and assets until the beneficiary comes of age.
Deciding upon Legacies
If you have treasured possessions or family heirlooms which you want to pass down to specific a specific person/people like some of these crazy legacies left to animals. The legacy needs to be named along with the name of the beneficiary.
The residual legacy is the remainder of your estate once all of the bills have been paid and legacies have been given. It is very important that you specify who you want to receive your residual legacy otherwise the remainder will fall under the Laws of Intestacy.
Save on Inheritance Tax with a Trust
If you are married then consider a discretionary trust which can save your dependents thousands of pounds in inheritance tax. This can be crippling for families so it is worth taking good advice on.
Store your Will somewhere safe
When you are satisfied your Will is complete and it has been signed and witnessed accordingly, use a safe storage facility to keep your document protected from damage or theft. The Executors will receive a certificate so that they know how to locate it at the time of your passing. Do NOT hide your Will, it will be of no use if it cannot be found.