It is important that everyone has a last will and testament in place to ensure that in the event of your death your estate, legal and family matters are all taken care of to your exact wishes. Despite the importance of this 50% of people die without having a will in place which, if you are not married, have children or another matter such as a business can cause an array of potential issues. In such circumstances your estate will be divided according to the law, this may not be what you or your loved ones wish for.
A will is even more important for those of us with children, the document will address the arrangements for their care, welfare and how they are brought up in the event of you and your partner’s death.
In order to start writing a will you will need to ask yourself a few questions which of course should be discussed with your loved ones and anyone that will be involved in your children’s lives. Although you will have all of your wishes stated in your will it is important that those who will be responsible for carrying these out understand exactly what you want, and why. Examples of such include:
– Who will be the guardian of your child?
– Do you have wishes in regards to the living arrangements, education and so on of your child?
– If you have a business, who will operate this?
– Will there be a trust set up for your children, if so, who will be the trustee?
Once you have addressed these questions you will need to put them all together in a legal document, there are various ways to do this depending on the complexity of your estate and of course, your budget. If you expect everything to be straightforward you can pick up a budget friendly DIY will kit which will guide you through the whole process from start to finish, alternatively you can complete legal forms online for under £100. If you feel you need legal assistance and your will includes guardianship, complex financial issues and trusts then a solicitor can assist in the process.
An executor of the estate needs to be named, ideally you would choose two people to fulfil this role in case one of them dies before you. They will be responsible for following the instructions which you left behind in your will so it must be someone over 18 that you trust to do this, it can be a family member, friend or professional such as your solicitor. In addition to your wishes they will also be required to ensure that all legal and financial matters are appropriately dealt with which will include taxes and legal fees.
Once your will is complete it does not end there, always keep it up to date in accordance to any changes in your life such as a separation, divorce, new family member and so on.
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