Writing a Will can be one of the most important things you ever do for your family. By organising and signing this important document, you will be legally protecting your spouse, children and assets, as well as confirming exactly how you would like your estate handled when you're no longer around.
Whether you’ve made a Will already and are wondering if you should review it or are now considering making one for the first time, here are some of the essential questions you need to ask.
Why do I need a Will?
A Will is the only way to make sure your family and friends are bequeathed what you want them to have after you pass away. With it, you can say exactly how you’d like your estate to be distributed.
Careful planning should make sure that those on the receiving end, your beneficiaries, are taken care of.
Without a Will, the rules of intestacy
are used to distribute your estate. That may mean that your wishes aren’t carried out. For example, if you and your partner are unmarried or not in a civil partnership, there are no assurances in law that they’ll receive anything from your estate.
It could also mean you leave behind family disputes and arguments. Those who you would like to receive something may in fact get nothing. Equally, those you wish to receive nothing, may be entitled to something.
Who should be in my Will?
This is where you can ensure those important to you receive what they deserve.
You can set aside certain amounts of money, possessions, or even leave a tax-free legacy to charity. You can make provisions for pets so they’re looked after once you’re gone.
But it’s not just gifts and instructions. A very important factor is specifying who your executors will be.
Most choose their spouse or civil partner. It’s important, however, to also name alternatives. If your first choice is unable to carry out your wishes, there’s another who can. You may also wish to consider appointing a professional if you feel this would be better for your loved ones and save any hardship it may cause them.
When should I review my Will?
You should review your Will between every 3 to 5 years, however, your Will should also be reviewed with every important milestone in life, too. Be it births, marriage, separation, divorce, bankruptcy, increase or decrease in wealth, property purchase, deaths and so on. Your priorities might change – and so might how you wish to divide your estate. It’s also important to keep up-to-date with changes in law as this can affect your planning.
How do I make sure my Will is valid?
You can write your own Will, but if it isn’t signed in accordance with the law or if it contains drafting errors, it may not be legally binding and may not achieve the result you want.
Without professional guidance, it’s easy to get it wrong.
That’s where we can help.
, all our estate planners
are fully qualified members of the Society of Will Writers. That means they have to follow strict guidelines when drawing up your documents.
It also means you can rest assured your executors will know your wishes when you pass away.
It’s easy to find out more about Wills and the service we offer. You can request your free Wills guide here
or, alternatively, ask for a free, no-obligation call back
from one of our expert estate planners.
What else should I think about?
As well as setting up your Will, it’s worth considering what other important decisions you need to make.
While you’re fit and healthy, perhaps the most pressing is taking out Lasting Powers of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)
An LPA is a legal document that gives a person or people of your choice the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf once you’re no longer able to or don’t want to.
It’s a common misconception that if you lose mental capacity your partner or family can simply step in and make the decisions you’re no longer able to.
However, without being appointed as your attorney, they can’t.
They have no legal authority to deal with your finances, healthcare, the clothes you wear or even the food you eat. Even if you’re married or in a civil partnership.
There are two types of LPA, one for Health and Welfare and the other for Property and Financial Affairs, both of which must be drafted, signed by all parties and registered whilst you’re still of sound mind.
The Health and Welfare LPA can only come into play once you’ve lost mental capacity, but the Property and Financial Affairs one can also be used as soon as it’s registered, with your permission.
How do I take out Lasting Powers of Attorney?
Just like writing your own Will, taking out an LPA without professional guidance can leave room for error.
To get in touch, request a free call back here.
Alternatively, learn more about Wills or LPAs and request your free guide here.