When I speak to clients about their Wills, I encounter recurring topics that I have to ask them to make decisions about. It’s natural that the same, or similar, issues come up. So, to save you some time when you come to do your own Will, here’s a list of my top three must-haves.
The Executors are the people that will carry out your instructions in your Will. They are the people that have the legal authority to manage your estate after you die. So, it’s essential you decide who they are when you’re drafting your Will. They can be family members, a trusted friend or a professional such as a solicitor. You must be able to trust them with money and they should be responsible and have the time to do all the work necessary. They can be a beneficiary – e.g. your spouse or adult children.
2. YOUR GUARDIANS
If you have children under the age of eighteen, then you must appoint legal guardians for them should you die while they are still minors. This is imperative. Give careful thought to who you would choose as they could have to love and care for your children for many years.
3. YOUR BENEFICIARIES
This sounds obvious, yet it’s crucial that your beneficiaries of your Will are clearly identified. You may also have to think of a worst-case scenario. For example, you’re married with young children. What would happen to your estates if you were all to die? It’s horrible to think about I know. But necessary I’m afraid.
THE OPTIONAL BITS:
Your Funeral wishes
You don’t have to include this but it may be helpful to your family if they know what your wishes are. Some people like to make it clear in their Wills.
Again, this is optional. But if you would like jewellery to go to your daughter for example, you may want to include a clause saying this in your Will.
If you would like to leave cash legacies to individuals or charities then add them into your Will.
If you’re getting a professional Will Writer or a solicitor to draft your Will, they should explore whether it’s appropriate to have a trust in your Will. There are different trusts that will be applicable to different scenarios. Your adviser will decide on which one is the best one for your circumstances.
Again, with professional advice, you should know whether inheritance tax could be an issue for you and what your options are to mitigate a large tax bill. To this end, I ask my clients to list all their assets and liabilities so they know what their estates will be worth when they die. Don’t forget life insurance and death in service benefits when your compiling your list.
This blog is a simple overview. But if you are already thinking about these things and discussing them with the relevant parties, it will make your Will drafting experience so much easier. I trust this has been helpful to you and please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like some more information on anything I’ve said above. Call me on 07538946839 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org