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The questions to ask before making your Will

Your Life
Thursday 30 May 2019

There’s no right age to start thinking about making your Will. If it’s not something you’ve done yet, make it a priority. 

  • Making a Will ensures those important to you inherit what you wish after you pass away
  • You should think carefully about who’s included in your Will. Pick more than one executor (the person(s) who collect assets & distribute your estate), or consider appointing a professional to save your loved ones from having to do this
  • Use a professional to ensure your Will is valid and accords with your wishes
  • Also plan for your later life, consider taking out Lasting Powers of Attorney  
Your Will should 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.
These are the essential four questions to ask before making a Will. 

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 well 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 get 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. 

How do I make sure my Will is valid?

You can write your own Will. But there are no assurances it’ll be legally binding.
Without professional guidance, it’s easy to get it wrong. And if your Will isn’t valid, it can’t be executed. 
That’s where we can help. 
At Key, 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. 
  • Good advice is Key
  • Join more than 60,000 people who have turned to Key for estate planning services1 
  • Download your free guide

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 (LPA).

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)

An LPA is a legal document that gives a person or people of your choice the power to make decisions on your behalf once you’re no longer able to or don’t want to. 
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 and registered by all parties 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 its registered, with your permission.
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 control over your finances, healthcare, the clothes you wear or even the food you eat. Even if you’re married or in a civil partnership. 

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.
With Key’s estate planning service, you’ll know an expert will be working on your case. We’ve already helped more than 60,000 people arrange their Wills and LPAs1.

To get in touch, request a free call back here.
Alternatively, learn more about Wills or LPAs and request your free guide here.
Page last updated: Thursday 13 June 2019