Did you know that 31 million adults in the UK don’t have a Will in place. Yes, some of these may be younger people with little to leave, but many of us have at least something of value. So what happens when we write our Wills? What should we do? And what do we need to be aware of?
1. Be careful with DIY Wills
It is possible to write your own Will with a DIY service but it’s worth noting that unless you really know what you’re doing it’s very easy to make a mistake when writing your own Will. You’re much safer in a professional’s hands and the cost of having your Will written professionally will probably be a lot less than you think.
2. Choose your executors wisely
This is the person (or people) who are appointed to carry out the terms of your Will after you die. It can be quite a daunting role and not everyone may be up for the challenge (handling large amounts of money for instance) so ensure you choose someone who you can trust in a situation like this.
3. Always appoint a substitute executor
If you’re married then it makes perfect sense for your husband or wife to be your Executor, but what about if they also died? Who then? Always appoint a substitute Executor for this reason.
4. Appoint guardians
Did you know that if you are the last living parent, once you die the court will appoint a guardian for your child/children. If you are unmarried but your partner has children you may not even get guardianship of them. Always appoint each other as guardians in your Wills for this reason and to save on Solicitors fees and family arguments.
5. Appoint the right kind of trustee
If your beneficiaries may be under the age of 18 when you die then you will need to set up a trust in your Will and appoint Trustees. Trustees are responsible for looking after any property and managing any money until it legally passes to the beneficiaries. With this in mind it is important to ensure that your appointed Trustees are financially mature enough so they can actually be trusted.
6. Special items
We all have those extra special items, whether they be sentimental, a family heirloom or just something of specific value that we would like to be left to a certain person. Make sure this is stipulated in your Will and left to a named beneficiary.
7. Residual legacy
Residual Legacy is what is left over in your estate after you’ve made any specific legacies and you must specify who this goes to. Without specifying this, something called a ‘partial intestacy’ could be created which means what is left would be subject to the laws of intestacy.
8. Save tax with a trust
If the value of your estate is above the nil rate band for inheritance tax then you will be subject to what can sometimes be a crippling amount of money. But if you’re married you can include a discretionary trust in your Wills which can save your children thousands in inheritance tax.
9. Don’t forget to sign!
Many people do it – they start the process of writing their Will, receive a draft and forget about it. If your Will hasn’t been signed in front of two independent witnesses then it is not valid so make sure your Wills are signed.
10. Safe storage
You never know what will happen – fire, burglary or simply misplacement can mean that you lose your Will. Ensure your Will is secured safely and can easily be located after your death.
At Simple Will we make the Will writing process – simple! Talk to us today about writing or updating your Will.