Life is unpredictable. You never know what will happen when or how your circumstances might change. As such, any adult should have an up-to-date will at all times. A will is a legal document stating where your assets should be allotted if you are ever to pass away. These assets include things like money, property, possessions, and investments.
If you pass without a valid will, it can be complicated for your family and loved ones to sort out your estate. To give the people you love time to mourn and adequately grieve your passing, be sure to have as many of the logistical requirements, such as a will, squared away.
Suppose you are to pass without a valid will. In that case, your estate could only legally be shared according to the rules of intestacy. The intestacy rules indicate that only married and civil partners and certain other close relatives can inherit your estate. This can limit the number of important causes, people, and philanthropic charities you may have wanted to leave your legacy with.
How to make a will?
To make a will, first, start by making a complete list of all of the assets you want to include. These can include things like:
- Your home and any other property you might own
- Savings in bank accounts
- National Savings
- Insurance (i.e., life insurance)
- Pension funds
- Investments (stocks and shares or investment trusts)
- Jewellery, antiques, and other belongings
Then think about how you want to divide them among the people and places you care about. If you are going to leave a donation to a charity in your name (or anonymously), you must include the full name, address, and registered charity number.
Other things to consider when allocating your resources to people are:
- Whom you want to execute the wishes stated in your will
- Selecting an executor is a big job! It can be time-consuming and quite involved. Be sure to choose someone who you trust will do the job well.
- Whether you want to leave specific gifts for certain people
- What will happen if a beneficiary passes before you do
- The type of funeral service you want
Be sure to get your assets regularly valued, as their value can, of course, change over time.
How to write a will?
To legally write a will, you will likely want legal assistance. It is possible to write your own but can be a dangerous chance to take, as the ramifications of an incorrectly completed will can be severe.
It is usually advised to get advice from a wills solicitor or chartered legal executive before finalising your will. It is smart to speak to a lawyer specialising in wills and probates, to ensure that your will is valid. Be sure to check the solicitor’s credentials. They should be licensed by a relevant professional body, such as the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority or Law Society.
Professional Will Writers
Professional will writers are not always qualified solicitors. Because of this, they may not be sufficiently up to regulation. Be sure to check whether they have obtained a qualification from the Institute of Professional Will Writers.
Some charities will offer will-drafting, mainly if you are willing to leave some of your assets in their name. Charity drafted wills can seem useful, but they should only be considered a draft. Be sure to have a qualified professional also take a look over it.
How to ensure your will is valid?
For a will to be valid, there are four non-negotiable steps:
- It must be in writing.
- You must sign it, and two others must have witnessed that signature. If three people are not in the room when the will signing occurs (you and two others), it is automatically void.
- You must have the mental capacity to make the will. If you have an illness such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, the will can be signed on your behalf. Suppose you have a neurological disease but are claiming to be of sound mental health. In that case, you may need a medical practitioner’s statement at the time of the signing.
- You must have made the will voluntarily without external pressure.
Other factors to consider
Ideally, your will should be renewed every five years, or after a significant life event occurs. If you are making minor amendments to your will, you can always add a supplement. Supplemental amendments are referred to as a codicil. It must be signed and witnessed the same way as the will is (three people in the room); the three people do not have to be the same.
If you get divorced, there is a good chance you will want to change your will. If you get remarried, however, this will automatically cancel a previous will. Arrange for a new will if you marry, separate, or divorce.
Having a valid will in place at all times is of the utmost importance. It can be mentally, emotionally, and financially taxing for those in your life if you pass unexpectedly, and your affairs are not in order. Contact a specialised wills solicitor today to value your assets, and get started on the process of creating a will.
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