When you have decided that it's time to make a Will, it is crucial that you carefully consider all the elements included in making a Will so you can make informed decisions.
A Will is often seen as a basic legal document that is easy to pull together, but here we look at some areas to consider which can be vital but easily be forgotten about.
- Choosing the Right Executor – It is vital that you choose carefully when appointing an executor. You should consider someone who is younger than you as they are more likely to still be around. You may want to name a family member, such as one of your children, but you may not want to burden them with this so you might consider a close friend.
You should talk to the person you want to name as Executor in advance; they may not want to be an Executor and this gives them the opportunity to voice any concerns. You can also name replacement Executors if your first choice is unable to act. This is very important because if you have no executors named in your Will who are able to act then it is your beneficiaries who are next entitled to manage the administration of your estate.
To safeguard against these scenarios, you can always name a professional legal provider, such as the Co-op Legal Services as Executor to undertake this important role.
- Consider Guardians Carefully – If you die when your children are under the age of 18 and there is no one else already with parental responsibility, then you will need to have a Guardian to look after them.
You can appoint someone who you would like to take on this role in your Will. Again, it is vital that you discuss this with the person or people who you would like to appoint as you need to know that they are committed to being Guardian to your children and that they are happy to take on this role. It can be easily forgotten that your appointment of a Guardian is always subject to the overriding interests of the child.
It is possible that the role of Guardian could be contested by different members of the family so it is important that you make your wishes clear and your Will enables you to do this.
- Be Clear About Gifts – A Will sometimes just divides everything equally between beneficiaries. On the face of it, this may seem like the fair thing to do. However, practically it may not be very helpful regarding personal possessions, as the executors will need to calculate what an equal split should be.
It is often forgotten that, whilst this may be possible in monetary terms, it is almost impossible in terms of sentimental value. This can cause significant issues and fall out between family members. Therefore, consider carefully whether you actually want to give specific gifts to members of your family or friends. If you do, then you must be clear about what you are giving and who you are giving it to in your Will.
We also recommend that, if you are giving an item of sentimental value which may be of interest to more than one person, you either speak to those people during your lifetime and you let them know why you are leaving it to a particular person, or leave a side letter alongside your will explaining your reasons.
- Use Trusts – Trusts can be a beneficial tool when making a Will. Rather than giving your estate outright to your beneficiaries upon death, a Trust can give you a certain amount of control over your assets for up to 125 years thereafter! There are many reasons why you may want to use a Trust in your Will.
Some of the most common reasons are where there is a disabled beneficiary who would be unable to manage their inheritance. Alternatively, a couple may re-marry but have children from previous relationships, and whilst they ultimately want their own children to inherit, they still want the surviving spouse to be looked after financially from your estate. Whilst the purpose of making a Will is to provide certainty, it should not be forgotten that Trusts can be used in a Will to enable flexibility.
- Wealth Protection from Care Home Fees – There is a continued drive towards utilising assets to pay for your fees if you need to go into a care home. However, it can be overlooked, that there is a way to protect more of your estate against the possibility it being used for care home fees in the future. Getting advice from a Will writing expert is essential as you should ensure you own your property is the correct way for this type of arrangement to be effective.
In summary, these are some important tips that to consider when making a Will. Call our Will Writing Specialists on 01618558360 or contact us online and we will help you.