Over 60 per cent of adults in the UK are reportedly living dangerously without a will. Most of the reasons why many are yet to make wills are procrastination and promises of preparing one in the near future.
The downside of this is that if you don’t write one and have it made legally valid, the law has already said who will get what from your estate. It might not be the one you wanted, and that’s why a will makes a lot of sense. Making a will isn’t a complex process, and you can start right away. Here’s how.
Comprehend your estate
The first step is to understand the worth and value of your estate. Do this by coming up with a list of your debts and assets. Examples of assets in your estate would be property, national savings, motor vehicles, pension funds, antiques, furniture and jewellery. Debts to be considered include equity releases, mortgages, loans, bank overdrafts and credit card balances among others.
Always ensure your assets are constantly valued considering their value change a lot over time.
Think about estate division
One of the reasons why you need to write a will is to indicate what should happen to your estate were you to be deceased. The will should be very concise and clear about what you’d like to happen to your entire estate. This is where you consider the beneficiaries and what you want to give to whom.
Ensure the will does indicate where estate residue is to be directed such as leftover asset and money after the payment of taxes, legacies, administrative charges and funeral expenses among others. Also, indicate what you’d like to happen in case any of the mentioned beneficiaries passed away.
It might be very clear that your estate or a portion of it is to go to a charity of your choice. Clearly elaborate this to waylay any doubt. Lack of a will could see your wishes to fund a charity unaccomplished.
Ensure the charity’s registered number, address and full name are well captured. If the information is incorrect or unclear the charity might never receive the donation.
Do you have any executor in mind?
It’s important to ensure the executors have been selected. These persons will be involved in the distribution of your estate once you’re long gone. An executor’s role is critical and could determine how well your wishes in the will are executed.
Executors are responsible for a lot, and the role can be really tiring and tasking. Do consider the person(s) you believe can do the job superbly well.
Get down to the details
Writing your will can be done in various ways. You can involve chartered legal executives or solicitors, including lawyers who deal with probates and wills. Expert will writers can also help with drafting the document, but you need to ensure they’re regulated. You can also approach different charities that offer will writing services in the UK, such as Free Wills Month and Will Aid. Do contact your bank as well and ask whether they provide estate planning advice and will creation services.
You can avoid all these and make a will yourself. However, do ensure the will is valid, signed and written properly since it’s a legal document. It’s only legally valid if you sign and witness it formally.
Signing and legal advice
Once the document is written, the process of signing it is important as well to make it legally binding. Before you formalise your will having written it yourself do consider whether you require legal advice first before you conclude the process. For instance, if the will is complex where property has to be shared by individuals who might not be civil partners, wife or husband, leaving funds or assets to dependants incapable of caring for themselves or overseas property.
Seek legal advice in case the claim on the will might be made by a number of family members such as children from another spouse. The will must be signed with independent witnesses in attendance to make it valid and legal.
Safe will storage
Once the will is ready, formalised and valid, leave it with your solicitor, at home, probate service or bank. The important thing is ensuring the executors know the location of the document.
Avoid attaching documents using stapes or paperclips on the will; any detachment might appear as if it has been tampered with. To leave the will with the probate service, locate a local one at https://courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk/search/.