Dealing with Personal Belongings in Your Will

16 October 2016

By Head of Wills, Solicitor James Antoniou

When thinking about who you would like to inherit your estate when you die, it’s natural to think about what you actually have to leave anyone. This may focus on larger more valuable assets such as your property, savings and investments.

However, when making a Will it’s very important to consider small sentimental items as this could have a significant impact on your family after you’ve gone.

Many people choose to make no mention of personal belongings at all and simply want to divide whatever they have equally between several people, perhaps their children. Whilst this may appear to be practical and fair, what it doesn’t take into account is that there may be items which cannot be divided equally, such as a wedding ring or a car.

At a time of bereavement, when emotions are high, arguments over who is entitled to what from the estate are all too common. Making a Will and including how you want your personal belongings to be dealt with can save a lot of anguish and stress for the loved ones you leave behind.

A question we are often asked is, even if you include certain specific gifts in your Will, what if these change or you get more items that you then want to include in your Will? Do you have you keep updating your Will?

Letter of Wishes

The good news is that it is not always necessary to update your Will because we can make a Will that allows you to keep a list of specific gifts separate to your Will. The list (or Letter of Wishes as it’s called) allows you to set out what items you would like to give but, if this needs to change, you can simply update the list and store it with your Will, rather than having to pay to update your Will.

Your Will needs to be written in a particular way to allow this to happen and we can advise you on the best way to deal with this in your circumstances

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