Download a printable version of our leaflet “A guide to writing your Will” below.
Many of us make the mistake of thinking that we do not need a Will as we view our financial affairs as being fairly straightforward. However, if you do not leave a Will, then it is possible that the State will say where your property and savings will go.
A professionally drawn Will can help in the following situations:
- Appointing Guardians (Substitute Parents)
- Cohabitation (unmarried couples)
- Family Members with Special Needs
- The Impact of Future Residential or Nursing Home Fees
- Inheritance Tax
Generally speaking, a Will contains some or all of the following features:
- Burial/Cremation wishes – An individual may have specific wishes with regard to whether or not they are cremated or buried and where they would like this to take place.
- The appointment of Executors – Executors are those individuals appointed under a Will to take legal responsibility for the conduct of the affairs of someone who had died
- The appointment of Guardians – Guardians are in effect substitute parents for children under the age of eighteen years.
- Specific legacies – Specific gifts of money or property to named individuals, charities etc.
- Gift of residue – The residue of an estate is what is left over after payment of debts, funeral expenses, administration expenses, specific legacies etc.
Why Do I Need One?
If you haven’t made a Will and you die things could be complicated. You may need to consider some of the following points and plan ahead just in case …
- Would your partner be protected financially if something happened to you?
- Who would look after any children under the age of 18 should both you and your partner die?
- Would your children (of any age) be protected financially if something happened to you?
- If you’ve been married more than once, have you made proper provision for the children of the first marriage?
- Do you want the Government to receive all your money?
- Are you worried about Inheritance Tax?
- What would happen if your partner were to be admitted to residential or nursing care?
- Who would look after your pet(s) and would they be protected financially?
Have You Reviewed Your Will Recently?
We recommend that you review your Will every 2-3 years. Changes in the Inheritance Tax rules and also your own personal circumstances make it extremely important to regularly review your Will to ensure that it fits your current circumstances. You will be surprised how much can change in even this apparently short period of time.
Here are some of the changes which could affect your Will:
- Your own marriage or divorce (both or which will have massive implications for your Wills. Indeed marriage usually renders a Will made before the marriage invalid!)
- The death or marriage of a beneficiary
- The divorce of a beneficiary
- Births within the family
- Changes in taxation rules
- The admission of a family member to a care home
- A change in your financial circumstances
- A move to new property
- The acquisition of property overseas
The only way you can legally change a Will is by either:
- making a codicil to the Will,
- making a new Will
It may sometimes seem tempting to use a Will writer. To learn about the advantages of using a solicitor to write your Will please click here.
We have put together a ‘Language of Wills’ page that you might find useful, click here.