There is no one answer about how to do your Will. It all depends on your assets, your circumstances and who your beneficiaries will be.
You need to make a will that makes your wishes clear, that avoids confusion and conflict amongst your loved ones, and that is legally valid and binding. Doing this will protect your family and friends from costly and stressful legal disputes.
If you chose to instruct Cribbin & Co to draft your Will, then we will discuss with you all of your options and what to include in your Will to ensure your wishes are reflected.
Before your initial consultation, we do advise its best to start thinking about your wishes and we have compiled a list of thing to start thinking about.
Things you need to consider
- Who will be your Executors?
Your Executors have the legal and administrative task of sorting out your assets and debts after you die and making sure that your wishes as outlined in the Will are upheld.
- Who will be your beneficiaries and what effect will their inheritance have on their circumstances?
You can designate anyone as a beneficiary and distribute your assets in any way you like, however, if you don’t provide for your family and dependents, your will can be contested and your hard-won assets used on litigation fees.
You also should consider the effects that an inheritance may have on your beneficiaries. In some cases, a testamentary trust can sidestep potential taxation problems, so it’s important that you get specific advice about your situation.
- Any funeral wishes you have
Another aspect of making your Will is to consider if you have any specific instructions for your Will. It is common for some wishes to be included in your Will. We always encourage our clients to think about their funeral wishes as this takes a heavy burden from their families once a loved one has passed.
- If you have children under the age of 18, who you wish to appoint as their guardians
If you have children who are under 18 you may wish to appoint somebody to act as their guardian should there be no other person with parental responsibility.
- Who you would want to protect any inheritance which is left to children
Likewise, with appointing a guardian, you may wish to appoint a trustee to look after any inheritance you leave to your children or other beneficiaries.
- Any specific gifts you wish to leave
There may be personal items of sentimental value you wish to ensure goes to the person you want to. It is common for people to leave jewellery, antiques and cash gifts to specific people.
- Any gifts you wish to leave to charity
Leaving a gift to charity in your Will is a lovely way to help a charity continue their mission. Leaving a gift to charity is also a way to reduce any Inheritance Tax which may be payable on your estate.
- Provisions for any pets
We understand that your animals are as loved as your children and therefore are happy to take instructions as to your wishes for them to be looked after on your death.
How do you know a Will is valid?
To be valid, the person making the Will must be mentally competent, the Will must be correctly signed and witnessed, and show no evidence of tampering. The witnesses to the Will cannot be beneficiaries, or related to beneficiaries and must be over 18.
If there is any doubt or potential for dispute as to your mental competence, you should get a doctor’s confirmation of your capacity to make the will and include it with your Will.
How often should I review my Will?
You should certainly review your Will after any major events, such as marriage, divorce, property purchase or sale, the death of a beneficiary or if your assets change significantly. We also recommend that you take a look at your Will every couple of years just to make sure that it is still the best instrument for you and for your family.
We can help
We know the potential pitfalls, and will ask you all the right questions to make sure that you have considered every possibility. We can advise you as to whether you would be best with a Will or a Testamentary Trust. We can design your Will in such a way to help protect your family from expensive estate litigation after your death and we can safely store your Will in our secure vault.
Contact us to discuss your particular situation and your family’s needs with an experienced will solicitor.