It's often tempting to put off making a Will, but if you die without leaving a Will your estate is subject to the rules of intestacy under which:-
- Your whole estate may not go to your surviving spouse or civil partner - they may have to share it with your children, parents or siblings
- If you are living together but not married/in a civil partnership and die intestate your partner will not automatically benefit
If you make a Will you take control of your own affairs:-
- You choose who will act as your executors and administer your estate
- You choose who will inherit and on what terms
- You have the chance to plan in a tax efficient way for the benefit of your family
- You can appoint guardians for your children's welfare
- You can make provision for a second family if you have one
- If you have business interests you can make proper provision for them
- You can include trusts to provide flexible inheritance
- You can delay children's inheritance beyond 18
- You can include rights of occupation in a house
Issues to consider before you make a Will
- What's the likely overall value of your estate? - This determines if your estate will be liable for Inheritance Tax
- Who would you like to appoint as executors to your Will?
- Do you wish to be buried or cremated?
- Do you want to leave gifts of money and specific items?
- Do you want to make arrangements for children under 18?
- What do you want to do with your "residuary estate" - that's everything left after any specific gifts
- Do you want to provide for alternative residuary beneficiaries if those you appoint die before you?
These are the people appointed to administer your affairs after death and they have to be expressly appointed within your Will:-
- You can appoint as many executors as you want but a maximum of four will be authorised to act at any one time
- In practice, four is the sensible maximum
- In theory, one is enough but problems can arise if the executor dies or is ill
- In straightforward cases, trusted relatives or family friends are suitable
- Make sure your executors have agreed to act
- If the estate is complex or there are potential family disputes, it may be sensible to appoint a professional executor
- Nelsons can act as professional executors and make no charge for this appointment
Burial or cremation?
- You don't have to state how you want your body to be disposed of but you can if you want to
- We would recommend any detailed wishes regarding your funeral are communicated separately to your executors
Guardians for your children?
- To allow for both parents dying at the same time, you should specify one or more people to act as a guardian for your children
- You should agree details with the other parent, and make sure you have the agreement of the people you are appointing as guardians
After Making Your Will
- Nelsons will store it safely for you free of charge
- We will remind you every five years of the need to review your Will
- Make sure your executors and any other relevant close family members know where your Will is stored
Please contact us to discuss how we can help you make a Will that meets your particular requirements.