A Will is a document which sets out what you want to happen to your estate upon your death.
Your estate can be made up of a business, a property, a bank account, investments and shares. You might have children and need to think of who is to raise them if you were to die.
Everyone over the age of 18 should make a Will!
Your assets can vary from a business to property to money in a bank account. If you do not own your own property but have children you should make a Will and give consideration to a ‘Guardianship Clause’.
Should you die without having made a Will then the Law of Intestacy will apply and dictate who will receive what under your Will. This might not be what you want to happen and might surprise you.
You should review your Will every three to five years or if your personal circumstances change you should review sooner. For example, if there is a marriage, civil partnership, divorce, birth, or death in your family. Also, should your financial situation change meaning you need advice on Inheritance Tax liability.
Yes! Your children are your greatest assets.
If you were to die before your children reached 18 and you did not have Will, they could become Wards of Court and Social Services could become involved and place them into care whilst their future is considered – and they may be placed with someone you may not have chosen!
It is vitally important that all parents and guardians make a will which sets out who is to raise the children should they die. This is called a ‘Guardianship Clause’.
Guardians are appointed in your will as people who will raise your children should you die before they reach 18.
An executor is someone who makes sure that your wishes stated in your will are carried out. They will collect in your assets, pay all your debts including any inheritance tax, deal with any specific legacies that you have left and then distribute the remainder of your estate in accordance with your wishes.
You can have as many executors as you like but the law states that only four can act at one time.
A beneficiary is someone who inherits under your Will. You can have as many beneficiaries as you like and it is worth considering replacement beneficiaries should your original beneficiary die before you and your Will has not been updated.
A Marriage and Civil Partnership will make your Will void so it is very important to either have a Will made in contemplation of a marriage or have a completely new Will drafted.
If you get divorced after making a Will, the Will remains valid but any gifts or appointment of your former spouse will fail.