Things you should consider when making a Will

The things you should consider when making a Will.

The morbidity associated with writing a Will can make the entire prospect seem overwhelming and is often the reason people put off making one.

However, a Will creates clarity and peace of mind for you and those you leave behind, and with the right help the process can be stress-free and simple.

When writing a Will, there are a few things that you need to consider:

Estate and assets

When making a Will, you should make a list of your assets and their values, as there may be some financial or tax planning which can be carried out as part of the will-making process. Your assets include savings, investments and property owned by you.

Listing your beneficiaries

Once you have a good idea of what your assets are, you can begin deciding who will inherit them. You should first make a list of beneficiaries before you determine how they will benefit. You don’t want to spend time dividing your assets, only to realise you’ve left your beloved aunt off the list.

For many people, deciding on beneficiaries seems easy – their spouse or partner first, and then their children – but there will often be more to think about, such as:

  • Could your spouse remarry and disinherit their children?
  • Can they cut out estranged children, and what rights do they have?
  • Who should benefit if your spouse and children die?
  • What happens if there are children from previous relationships?

Choosing your executors, trustees, and guardians

The Executors that you appoint in your Will are responsible for the administration of your estate and carrying out your wishes. You need to think carefully about who wish to appoint in this role, as they need to be trustworthy and reliable, if you want your wishes carried out properly. If your estate is likely to present some complexities, or is larger than average, you may want to consider independent or professional executors.

If you’re in a relationship, it is common practice to appoint your partner as the executor or any children you have over the age of 18. It is also generally considered best to appoint two executors; a primary and a back-up who is ready to take over should your first choice be unable to carry out this duty.

If your Will includes a trust, you may also want to specify trustees who will manage the estate for a named beneficiary. This can be the same people as your executors, or another responsible adult. A trustee is necessary if you are leaving any part of your estate to someone who could be under 18 at the date of your death.

If you have children under the age of 18, you can also name a guardian who will care for them in the event of your death. That’s not a decision to be taken lightly and requires extra care and consideration.

Sign your Will

It’s all very well having your Will drafted, but if you don’t sign it in front of two independent witnesses, it will not be valid. A witness cannot be anyone mentioned in the Will, or anyone married to anyone mentioned in the Will.

Store safely

Once your Will has been correctly signed and witnessed, have it stored in a proper safe professional storage facility. This will protect it from fire, flood, damage, or loss. Your executors will be provided with a certificate showing them where your Will is stored and how to get hold of it if you die. Your Will is no good to anyone if it cannot be found after your death.

Review your Will

It is important that you review your Will periodically to ensure that it continues to reflect your current wishes. It is particularly important to review your Will if you (or any of your beneficiaries, executors, trustees or guardians) have any significant change of circumstances. Even if the circumstances haven’t changed significantly, it is still worthwhile reviewing your Will periodically to keep up to date with changes in the law that might affect you.

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things to consider when making a will