What to do when it’s time to sort out your will
If you want to be able to ensure that your loved ones receive the things you have chosen for them after you pass away, you need to set aside the time to write your will.
A will can dictate who will receive your prized possessions, what will happen to any investments you have and how your estate will be managed. Without one, you could be leaving your descendants and family members unsure of how to deal with your assets after your death.
If you’d like to understand more about the impact this could have, The Telegraph has an informative article explaining what could happen if you die without leaving a will.
Writing a will, getting started
While writing a will sounds like it’s a complicated process, it can actually be very straightforward. The most important thing is to make sure that your will fits the acceptable legal format and it is formally witnessed and signed. Provided you don’t have any complicating circumstances, you can easily write your own will with some guidance from Gov.uk. Otherwise, you might be better getting advice from a legal professional such as a solicitor.
When deciding what to put in your will, you should start be making an inventory of all of your money and possessions, including things like property, savings, occupational and personal pensions and insurance policies. Next, you will need to decide who you’d like to benefit from your will and what you’d like your beneficiaries to have. Your will should also identify your executors, these are the people you have nominated to carry out the wishes that you’ve listed in your will.
Citizens Advice has some excellent guidelines and examples that can help you make sure you’re fulfilling all of the expected criteria.
When you might need professional help
Many people decide to employ a solicitor to help them with the finer details of writing a will. It’s an especially good idea to turn to a professional if your will isn’t completely straightforward. For example, a solicitor can help clear up any confusion if you share property with someone who isn’t your spouse or civil parent. Turning to a solicitor is also a good idea if you want to leave money to someone who is unable to take care of themselves, you have several family members who may make a claim on your will, you have a business or you’re based outwith the UK.
Additionally, if you have estates valued at over £325,000, you will be liable for inheritance tax. This can be complicated and a solicitor will be able to help you make the most effective choices and ensure you follow the law correctly. For more information about using a solicitor to write your will, have a look at the useful guide to wills written by the Money Advice Service.
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