Are you one of the many people who have put off making a Will?
While no one likes to think about what happens after they’re gone, not planning for it can create unnecessary heartbreak and conflict.
Perhaps though, the idea of making a Will or an Estate Plan seems overwhelming or too hard.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be.
Here are our simple tips to help get you started and to safeguard your future wishes.
Where do I start?
When preparing a Will you should consider, and gather information, on the following:
- Property – record your major assets and their approximate current value. Obvious examples include your home, any second or holiday home, your household contents, furniture, clothes, antiques, jewellery, your car, other items of value.
- Financial Assets – get details of your bank and building society accounts and balances, stocks, shares and investments, pension and superannuation benefits, life insurance, premium bonds, unit trusts, business assets, any other financial interests.
- Any money you owe – this includes any mortgage outstanding, other loans, overdrafts, hire purchase agreements, credit card debts, other money owed. Make a note though if all of some of these debts will be paid off on your death via an insurance policy or similar.
- Money you are owed – record the name and address of any debtors together with the date of loan and amount outstanding.
- Your Executors – we normally recommend a family member or close friend together with a professional who can be objective and give guidance.
- Guardians – if your children are under 18 years of age consider who you would like to appoint as a guardian.
- Specific Bequests – are their any specific provisions you would like made for your immediate family, other relatives, friends and charities? This may include items that have sentimental value only.
- Individuals and/or Charities – make sure you know their full names and addresses of any person or body whom you want to benefit in your Will and what kind of gift you wish to make to each.
- Powers of Attorney – give some thought to whether you need a Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney and who you may like to appoint.
- Speak to an expert – if there is any specific questions or concerns you have, take a note of them so you can follow up with an expert.
You should also consult this estate planning checklist.
How will my gifts be made
There are different ways of making gifts. The three main ways of making gifts are as follows:
- A gift of a specific item to an individual or an organisation.
- A gift of a specific amount of money. Inflation can reduce the real value of your gift, you may wish to review this from time to time.
- All the rest of your property, not already given away under the above. This is known as your “residuary estate”.
Can I do it myself?
Not every Will is equal. It is a good idea to enlist the help of a professionally qualified expert. It’s very easy to make a mistake with a homemade Will, as there are certain strict legal formalities that must be complied with. A Will is an important document and it is worth taking a little trouble to get it right.
Important points about Wills
- Making a Will is not tempting fate. If you don’t make a Will you could leave many problems for your family to sort out, and cause unnecessary heartache and disputes.
- Don’t try to make a Will by yourself.
- Making a Will is simple and not expensive when you consider what can happen without one.
- Before you make a Will, ask the people you wish to appoint as Executors and Guardians and if they will act on your behalf.
- Keep your Will in a safe place and make sure someone knows where it is. Gill & Lane will store your Will free of charge and give you a certified copy.
- It is easy to change your mind and your Will.
- Husbands and wives should make separate Wills. One is not enough.
Gill & Lane can help you safeguard your wishes with a high quality Will and estate plan.