You Know You Need To Make A Will - What Do You Do Next?
I like to write articles advising why you should make a Will and what happens when you don’t. I therefore read with surprise an article whereby a Court in Queensland, Australia upheld that wishes set out in a text could be viewed as a Will. So can you text, tweet or What’s App your wishes? In a word – No! This case was very much an exception to the rule and not one that would have any impact on the Court’s interpretation here. But it made me think; we tell you to make a Will but we do not always say what you need to think about when making one and often for many people they do not know where to start.
This is what you should think about:-
- What have you got to leave in your Will? Think about you bank/savings accounts, any investments, your personal possessions and your property.
- Who do you want to leave it to? For example: Your husband/wife/civil partner/partner, children, parents, nieces, nephews, friends, charity? You will probably also be asked to think about who will inherit if the first person you have named has died before you. It is always sensible to give this some thought.
- Who is going to receive what? I would not recommend “…X to get my NatWest bank Account…Y to get my NS&I Investment Bond…”, because if you have closed that Account or moved the money elsewhere the gift may fail. You can think about legacies, which are set sums of money e.g. Leaving X £500 and/or percentages that people will inherit e.g. A to get 50% of my estate, 25% to B and 25% to C.
- Who is going to be your Executor? The role of an Executor is an important one, they are the person/s who has the authority and responsibility to sort out your estate and give effect to your wishes when you die. They should be someone you trust, who you feel could cope with the role and importantly will get on with their co-Executor! Executors must act unanimously and therefore if they do not get on with each other everything will grind to a halt. They can be a beneficiary of the Will but they must be over 18 and you can only have a maximum of 4. If your Will is leaving money to your children and they are under age the Executor/s would be the people responsible for looking after the money for those children. They do not have to be a Solicitor but your executors can always employ a Solicitor to deal with the administration of the estate for them.
- Do you need to think about a Guardian? Often people will say they have nothing to leave but they do have children under 18. If you have minor children a Will is vitally important. In the Will you can appoint a Guardian who will look after the welfare of your children if you have died.
There is a lot to think about when you make a Will certainly more than you can put into 280 characters! However, you do not need to have all the answers when you sit down in front of your Lawyer to discuss making one, part of our role is to advise you when making the Will and to assist you in making a decision that is in your best interests, taking into account your circumstances and wishes.
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