Making a Will – what should you consider?
There will be quite a few people for whom making a Will has been on their ‘to do’ list for a while and have not yet found the time. However, it is one of the one of the most important things you can do to safeguard the future of your loved ones and ensure that your wishes will be carried out.
What do I need to think about before making a Will?
A lot of emphasis is put on how we want to leave our assets but other elements can be equally important:
- Appointing your executor(s). Executors are responsible for administering an estate, which can seem like a straightforward role but it can become more complicated depending on what the Will says.
- Appointing a guardian for any young children and stating an age that any young beneficiaries should inherit. The default age is 18 years but some may not be able to manage their finances at that age and having their inheritance managed for them until they are older might be helpful.
- Stating what you do not wish to include. Some legislation applies to a Will by default and you may have to clearly state in your Will that you do not want the legislation to apply.
- Inheritance tax planning if your estate is likely to exceed £325,000. Receiving personal advice on options such as gifts and trusts can reduce the value of your residual estate, and therefore the tax payable on it.
What if I have a Will already?
It is important to review your Will regularly to ensure that it is up to date and reflects any possible changes in your circumstances. For example:
- If you have had a child or a grandchild. It should not be assumed that they will be included as a beneficiary because other children or grandchildren are mentioned.
- Do you have step children? Another assumption is that step children will or will not be included when a Will refers to “children”, whether that is reference to your own children or children of your beneficiaries.
- You have married, entered into a civil partnership, divorced or separated.
Getting specialist advice on what you should include and how to make amendments can make a huge difference and ensure that it is valid. By making a Will correctly it can make the administration of your estate easier for your loved ones and reduce the chances of any anguish or disputes over your estate.
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