How many times have you thought about writing a will, only to put it to the side for later and promptly forget all about it? You are not alone!
Writing a will is one of those things everyone knows they really should do. But life is busy, so it tends to get pushed to the bottom of the pile. Having a will is so important though, especially if you have children.
Today we are going to take a look at the role of a will. We’ll also explain why you should make it the next thing to get ticked off your life admin to-do list.
What is a will?
Your will is essentially a set of instructions that dictate how the things you leave behind should be shared out. It’s the only legally binding way for making sure your wishes are followed once you pass away.
Having a will gives you the power to make sure your money, property and possessions go to the people you intend. It can also let your family know of any other wishes you may have; such as plans for your funeral.
Things to consider when writing your will
Making a will can be a bit of an undertaking, there is a lot to consider. It’s important to take time to plan. Knowing exactly what you have and where you would like it to go will make the writing of your will much easier.
When you write a will, you need to choose an executor. This person is in charge of making sure your wishes are followed and are also responsible for organising your estate. The nominated person should do their best to carry out all of the instructions in your will. As long as they don’t break the law!
You can choose more than one person to be your executor if you wish. Just make sure you consider your options carefully. They should be someone you know and trust as this role has a lot of responsibility attached to it.
Your will needs to be legally valid
In order for your will to be carried out when you pass away, it must be legally valid. It should:
- Give clear instructions on how your estate should be shared out
- Have been written by you while you still had the ability to make your own decisions. You should not have been put under any pressure about who you leave anything to
- Be signed and dated by yourself in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses need to be over 18 and independent. They cannot be anyone who is set to inherit from you. Nor can it be their husband, wife or civil partner.
Five very good reasons why you need a will:
You may think that you have plenty of time to get your will sorted, but you never know what it around the corner. It never hurts to be well prepared and get your affairs in order. The great thing about wills is they can be updated as your situation in life changes.
Having a will and reviewing it regularly is the best way to make sure you are prepared, and your family is looked after, should the worst happen.
Here are five more very good reasons why getting your will ticked off the to do list is a must.
- You get to decide who gets what when you die. This is especially important if you’re not married or in a civil partnership. Or, if you want include someone who is not in your immediate family. Without a will, the courts will decide what to do with all of your belongings. They may not share out your estate in a way you would like.
- You can make sure your children (under the age of 18) are looked after. Within a will you’re able to appoint a guardian for your children should you die whilst they still need caring for. If you don’t have a will, the court will choose among your family members or a state-appointed guardian.
- It saves your loved ones a lot of trouble. If all your wishes are written down in black and white, there’s much less chance of disagreement and upset.
- It avoids a lengthy probate process. Most estates must go through probate. Having a will speeds up the process meaning any beneficiaries have access to their share sooner.
- A will can reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax. With a bit of planning, more of what you have worked hard for will go where you want it, rather than being paid out in taxes.
Writing your will
Although you can write your will yourself, it is always best to seek professional help. Especially if you have a complex family situation, are going to need to pay Inheritance Tax or want to protect someone’s interests (like a disabled family member).
A professional will writer can give you the peace of mind that everything has been thought of. You can be confident that your will covers everything, has been prepared correctly and will stand once you pass away.
Here at Face to Face Estate Planning, we are estate planning experts – the name says it all really! This means we are well versed on writing watertight wills. We can help you write your will, or even review a will you already have in place. Get in touch today if you would like to speak to someone about your will.