5 Thing You Need to Know About Wills
Although we don’t like to think about the prospect of anything happening to us, it is important to be aware of this and have a will in place, regardless of age. A staggering 60% of people don’t have a will in place and this includes 37% aged 55 and over. If you are planning on making a will, there are some points you must remember, before you get started.
1. Contents of the Will
Prior to writing your will, you must consider what you will leave behind and who you want to leave it to. It is a good idea to compile a list of your possessions, together with the people you want to benefit from it – those who are important to you. The content of wills can cause problems in families, so make sure you give careful consideration to it, before you speak to a lawyer to write your will. It is a good idea to have as much information as possible about your choices, as this can reduce the likelihood of family disputes.
2. Age and Practicalities
You must be over the age of 12 to make a will in Scotland. In England, the age is 18. You must also be of sound mind and the will must be made in writing, with a signature of the person making the will on each page. You must have a witness present who will sign the last page. The witness must be over 18 and of sound mind. It is imperative that the witness knows you, they can’t just be a random person. Beneficiaries can act as a witness, but this is not advisable. It is important to review your will when your life circumstances change. For example, if you get married., as your partner will not automatically become a beneficiary, although they will have legal rights to your moveable estate, regardless of what your will states.
3. Moveable Estate
Moveable estate includes cash, investments, jewellery and cars. Your spouse and children will be entitled to make a claim on your moveable estate, no matter what has been stated in your will. Your spouse and children will be able to claim 1/3 each. Children or spouse can either take the legal rights entitlement or the contents of the will. Moveable estate can be quite complex, so we would advise seeking legal advice to give you a better understanding of this.
4. Executors and Trustees
An executor is the person who will take responsibility for your estate and will make sure that the terms of your will are implemented. Trustees may also be used if you have an ongoing trust in place. Your solicitor should be made aware of who you want to put into place as your executor and trustee.
5. Charitable Donations
You may also want to consider making charitable donations as part of your will. These will need to be registered UK charities.