Writing a will is one of the most important things you can do. It ensures your wishes regarding your money, your possessions and your property are carried out after you die. If you die without a valid will in place it can cause unintended financial problems and emotional distress for your family.
Having an up to date will is especially important if you have children under 18, if you’re cohabiting, getting marriage, divorced (or in the process of getting divorced), own joint property or have specific funeral plans. If there are any changes in your personal circumstances, you should consider reviewing your will.
If you die without a valid will in place you are said to have died ‘Intestate’ and the Intestacy Rules will come into effect. These are strict rules which mean that the courts choose who benefits from your estate and this can potentially cause family hardship and dispute.
As a will is a legal document any small error in the wording is open to interpretation which can cause problems and, at worst, render the will invalid. You should always consult a specialist will writing solicitor for legal advice.
One of the first decisions to make when writing a will is choosing the Executors. These are the people who will be responsible for carrying out the instructions in your will after you die.
It’s important to choose someone who will be able to handle the pressure, because the role of an Executor can be demanding.
You should also consider who would be Guardian to any children under 18 years old. If you are setting up a trust as part of your will, you will need to name the Trustees who will manage the money or property until it passes to the beneficiaries.
When it comes to your possessions you can list specific legacies in your will. For example if you want to leave a piece of jewellery or a family heirloom to a family member, these legacies can be written into your will; along with any money you would like to donate to charity.
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