Many people are put off making a Will, because they feel they are not at ‘that’ stage in their lives yet.
However no matter what age you are or what your personal circumstances may be, writing a Will is a vital part of planning for the future of your loved ones. It is also the only real way of guaranteeing your wishes are respected after your death.
It is a common myth that your spouse or partner will inherit everything automatically should you die. In fact, this is only the case if your estate is under a certain value or if you have no other relatives who survive you. If you are unmarried, but have a partner, they could be entitled to nothing if your wishes have not been stated in a legally binding document.
Children under 18 should always be considered as their future will rest in your hands should there be no surviving person with parental responsibility. You can choose a guardian, so that you have peace of mind about their future happiness and security.
If you do not make a valid Will the law decides what happens to your possessions, regardless of any wishes you may have had. There are also financial benefits linked to making a Will. Your family can be spared any unexpected legal bills and, dependent upon the value of your estate, you can ensure that the minimum amount of tax is payable.
If you have already made a Will, don’t forget it, you should check that it still reflects your wishes and the value of your estate. Circumstances also change; the birth of children or grandchildren, marriage or indeed divorce can result in the need for amendments to be made.
Things to consider when making a Will
- Who you would wish to appoint as an executor and trustee. You may also wish to provide details of back up executors in the event that your chosen executors are unable or unwilling to act. At least 2 back up executors are recommended if money is to be held on behalf of children under the age of eighteen
- Who you would wish to appoint as a guardian for your children if they are under the age of eighteen
- Whether you would like to leave any gifts of money or property (such as jewellery or other personal items) and if so, the full names and addresses of the beneficiaries
- Who you would like to receive the remainder of your estate
- Whom you would like to receive your residuary estate in the event that your chosen beneficiaries have predeceased you. For example, it is common for spouses to leave their estates to each other in the first instance, with a provision on to children in the event that both spouses have passed away. Some people also like to include back up beneficiaries in the event that the whole family dies simultaneously (often referred to as a disaster scenario)
- At what age you would like minors to inherit. The legal minimum age is 18 however, this can be increased to say 21 or 25
- Whether you would like to include any funeral instructions such as burial or cremation.
Jo Robinson heads up operations at FB Wills Direct a division of Flint Bishop Solicitors. Find out about making a will quickly and easily at our web site www.fbwillsdirect.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org