Your will is going to be one of the most important legal documents you will ever create. You need to make sure that it fully covers several key elements to ensure that your last requests are properly carried out. Here are some of the thing you need to address when creating a will.
What is a Will?
The will is a document that details how a person’s estate should be divided up when they die. It can if you wish, also include some important information such as any specifications they should want for their funeral and burial.
You are required to be 16 years old and of sound mind to make a will. If you have any kind of assets, a bank account, a house, a pension you should have a Will. Without a Will your family can be left with real difficulty with accounts frozen and months of administrative issues ahead of them.
One of the first elements that your will needs to cover is who the executors will be. These will be the people who will carry out your wishes , organise the Funeral, deal with all the paperwork for your estate, apply to the courts for Confirmation should that be needed and deal with distributing the estate as per your Will but also deal with the personal items not dealt with in the Will.
You require to appoint two executors that can be family members or friends. You can also appoint a professional executor such as your solicitor or an accountant. The two individuals can either work jointly or one, if the other cannot act for some reason. The most important aspect here is that you find someone who you can be certain will carry out your last wishes to the letter. They are obligated under law to distribute the estate as per your wishes.
There can be two sections to a Will.
These are specific items or sums of money to specific people or charities, for example, £500 to a child or £500 to the cat and dog home. The specific bequests are paid first. So when thinking about this, think have I enough for this to be paid and still leave money over for my residuary beneficiaries. Any high value items or items which may cause a dispute in the family should be detailed in this section. In relation to personal items, these can be dealt with in an informal writings which can be changed as and when required. However, it has to be remembered that the only document that can be relied upon is the Will so if it’s not mentioned in this section then everything falls into the residuary beneficiary clause.
Residuary Beneficiary Clause
If you are leaving a portion of your estate to someone, this will be detailed here. If you think of your estate as a pie. The pie is everything you have after you pass away after any debts have been paid and the specific bequests paid out. The whole pie requires to be allocated such as 10 % to Jean Blogs and 90% to Jonny Blogs. The other consideration that requires to be detailed is where should the portion you have left someone go should they have died before you. If this section is not detailed correctly and cover the whole pie, then the portion not detailed will fall into in testacy and become complicated to wind up and costly.
You may have a beneficiary who is not old enough to fully inherit what you are leaving them. This is usually a child or grandchild. You will be able to stipulate in your will that you wish to leave something for them in a trust so that it will be well-cared for until they reach a certain age. For example, you could have a sum of money set aside so that your children are taken care of in the event of you dying before they reach adulthood. This trust could contain payments to anyone who helps to raise them, and a set fund of money that they will inherit on their 16th, 18th 21st or 25th birthday.
If you have a specific idea about how you would like your funeral to proceed, you can lay it out in your will. Many people like to dictate the manner of their passing. For example, if they choose to be cremated, there may be a specific location that they wish their ashes to be scattered from. This can also be detailed in an informal writings and should be discussed with family and the executor, so they are aware of your wishes.
Wills are incredibly important, and you need to ensure that yours is up to date. Wills should be reviewed at least every 10 years and when specific events happen in your life. E.G. the birth of a child or grandchild. and entirely in line with your wishes.
Contact MM Legal now to speak to our team about getting your will drafted. We work in partnership with Cancer Research UK and their Will Writing Initiative. Cancer Research UK will pay your legal fees for the writing of your Will should you consider leaving Cancer Research either a specific bequest or a portion (however small) to them in your residue clause