Making a will is not difficult and it is never too early to start thinking about one. We have put together the key steps to consider before speaking to your lawyer to draft a Will for you:
- Choose executors – these are the people who will make sure that the instructions in your will are carried out. You can appoint your spouse, adult children, or other relatives and close friends, including beneficiaries of the will.
- What is your estate? This consists of all your assets, including property, bank accounts, insurance policies, shares, ISAs, foreign assets such as holiday house etc. as well as personal items such as jewellery or art.
- Decide on any specific legacies – these are items or sums of money that you wish to bequeath to specific people or organisations. If you own a house jointly with another person you will probably want to make sure that they inherit your half share. This may not happen automatically and, without a will, your share of the house may not pass to your co-owner. Any assets that remain after legacies are called the residue and you should also decide who you wish to bequeath this to.
- Children – consider setting up a trust, particularly if your beneficiaries are children. You may also want to specify who you would like to act as guardian to your children.
- Funeral wishes – if you have any specific instructions for your funeral, these can be mentioned in your will.
In life you don’t always know what is around the corner, so it pays to be prepared. It is very important that your will is correctly drafted in order to avoid possible tax and other problems after your death, and therefore we strongly advise you to speak to someone in our Private Client team to help you in this process.