MAKING A WILL
WHY IS MAKING A WILL SO IMPORTANT?
Here are a few reasons why making a will is very important whatever your age
- You will make sure that your belongings and investments will pass to the people YOU want to benefit. If you die without a will the Court will decide how your assets are distributed
- If you are living with someone with whom you are not married or in a civil partnership, on your death he or she will not be entitled to any of your assets. If you write a will you can make sure that your partner is financially secure
- If you have young children, it is important to name a Guardian to be responsible for their upbringing. You can use your will to name these people and to give instructions as to how and where you would like your children raised should you die before they reach maturity
- If you have no living relatives and die without a will, everything will go to the State
- It will be much more complicated and expensive for your family to deal with your estate on your death if you have not left a will setting out your wishes
HOW TO MAKE A WILL
As long as the will is in writing or print signed and witness, it can be written on any piece of paper . However, if there is an ambiguity in the wording this may lead to a dispute on your death, so it is important to take advice before drawing up the will.
If your affairs are complex we strongly advise you to seek advice from a Solicitor.
However, if your affairs are simple, we can offer the services of a will writing organisation, take instructions and arrange for the will or wills to be drawn up for signature
When you draw up a will you need to appoint one or more Executors. These are the people who will carry out your instructions laid down in the will. The maximum number is four and the ideal number two.
You need to give careful consideration to the person or people you wish to appoint. Usually a married couple will appoint each other. In this case it is important to appoint a reserve Executor in case your spouse is not able to act. It is sensible if this reserve Executor is younger than you are so there is more chance of this person being able to carry out the duties
Executors can also be beneficiaries under a will but they cannot charge for their services unless they are appointed as a Professional Executor
If you have children under the age of 18 you will wish to appoint people to look after your children on the death of both parents. Such people need to be acceptable to the children and both sides of the family – so you will need to think carefully about this and ask the people if they are prepared to take on the responsibility before drawing up the will. You may wish to leave money to the Guardians to help them with the expense of caring for your children (in addition to the money you leave in trust for the children)
You should consider small monetary gifts you may wish to make to friends or more distant relatives
GIFTS TO CHARITY
You may wish to make specific gifts to charity
This will normally be your spouse or partner with the proviso that if they do not survive you by 30 days the assets pass to your children, grandchildren or other beneficiaries. You will need to indicate how the estate is to be shared out amongst the beneficiaries.
You may wish to consider what you would wish to happen if one of your named beneficiaries pre-deceased you, for example “to my brother…….. but should be predecease me then to …………………….. If you do not include such a clause then the share of your estate which you have left will form part of the deceased persons estate and be dealt with in accordance with their will.
THE FAMILY HOUSE
In some circumstances, for example a second marriage it may be necessary to draw up a trust within the will so that the surviving spouse has the right to occupy the property but on his or her death, all or part of the property passes to the children of the deceased spouse.
It may be necessary to change how you own your property. Most married couples will be advised to purchase their family home as joint tenants, this means that on the first death, the share of the deceased automatically passes to the surviving partner. In order that part of the property can pass to another beneficiary on the first death, the ownership must change to tenants in common – this is a simple procedure
If you wish you can make an indication of your funeral wishes within your Will
HOW TO MAKE A WILL
If you have a family Solicitor you may wish to use their service. We offer access to a will writing service. If you want more information please let us know