Your Will is the document that tells people what you would like to happen to your estate after your death. If you have young children, it can also ensure that they are cared for and provided for.
The following are points to think about before having your Will drawn up:
Executors are the people responsible for dealing with the administration of an estate. They will need to collect in and value the assets then arrange for transfer or sale of them and distribution of money to your beneficiaries.
It can be a complicated and time-consuming job, so it is important to choose people who you believe are capable of carrying it out, as well as those you trust implicitly. It is possible to appoint a professional executor, for example a solicitor.
If your children are under 18, you should use your Will to appoint a guardian for them in the event of your death.
If you don’t choose someone yourself, then it will be for the court to decide who should raise them. You should speak to your choice of guardian and make sure that they are happy to take on the role.
A Trustee will manage any ongoing Trusts which arise from the Will. The trustees are usually also the executors but they can be different people. Once your Executors have carried out the terms of your Will, the Trustees will go on to manage the Trust property for however long the Trust lasts.
If you wish, you can include funeral arrangements in your Will, however bear in mind that they will not be legally binding. It can give your loved ones an idea of what you would have wanted however, so it can be of comfort to them. You should make sure that you have also told them that your wishes have been included in your Will in case they do not have sight of it straight away.
You can leave gifts of money or items in your Will, known as specific legacies. These can be given to named individuals or charities.
This is the portion of your estate that remains after all expenses, debts and specific legacies have been paid. You can leave it to one person or split it between several, giving each one a named share, for example a third.
The important thing to bear in mind is that if your estate ends up being smaller than you had anticipated, then the residual amoumt may be far less than you wanted to give to someone. Those receiving specific legacies will still receive their money first, and those sharing the residuary estate may be left with very little.
To speak to one of our expert Will lawyers, ring us on 01276 415835/6/7.