Planning Ahead: 5 Steps to Writing Your Will

by Asset Wills on April 8, 2015

Asset Will signedImportant Things to Consider When Writing Your Will

Writing your will is important if you want to have a say in what happens to your property and possessions after your death.

Writing your will might seem a little morose but, in reality, we prefer to think of it as an insurance scheme. You don’t buy insurance because you think you’re going to lose something, have something stolen or hurt yourself, but you do buy insurance because you’re aware that all of those things are a possibility and in their outcome you would like to have your assets protected.

Your will is, in essence, an insurance policy to protect your loved one’s rights in the unfortunate event of your death. Being prepared and writing your will means that you have the final say in what happens to your belongings.

If you die without writing a will, your inheritors might pay more inheritance tax than is strictly necessary and the law will have the final say on who receives what portion of your estate and we’re almost certain you don’t want that.

Get Organised

Before you even sit down to write a will, you’ll need to consider what you will need to write it. Understanding the exact process of creating a will, having reliable and acceptable witnesses and creating an inventory of all the possessions you wish to pass on are all elements you need to consider before so that you are able to create your will with ease.

You will require two witnesses to sign your will and neither of them may be listed in your will as benefactors (nor may their legal partners). It makes sense to identify and ask your chosen witnesses early on.

Creating an inventory of your possessions will make the whole process streamlined, as you will be able to identify items you consciously wish to pass on to specific inheritors.

Making Allowances

Writing your will isn’t just about passing on possessions but instructing an executor about how they should handle your affairs in the event of your death. This should include multiple possibilities such as what should happen if one of your inheritors dies before you.

You should also consider what happens to any dependents in the event of your death. Do you care for children under the age of 18? Who would you like to care for them? Are you the sole carer for an elderly person? What should happen to them in the event of your death?

A will can often include a short paragraph that details how you would like your funeral to be conducted.

Writing Your Will

The next step is to actually write your will. Depending on what you have to pass on and how complex the specifics are this can be an easy process or it can require legal advice. Writing your will can be very simple but if you share property with someone who you aren’t legally connected to, if you own a business, own property overseas or want to leave sums of money to a dependent who cannot care for themselves, it is advisable that you seek out legal help in constructing the specifics of your will.

Actually writing your will can be quite easy if these things do not apply to you, but in case of confusion, it is always worth while ensuring that your will is sound.

Keeping it Safe

Once you’ve completed your will you need to keep it safe; there are several options. If you have a solicitor, they are able to hold onto it. Most banks also offer a service whereby they will store your will safely.

A will writing company will provide safe storage of wills, but if you write your own will you are responsible for keeping it safe, usually within your own home. If it is damaged or destroyed you will need to write a new one. Whatever you choose, make sure you do not lose your will.

Keeping up to Date

As time goes on things may change, items that you once wanted to pass on have gone missing or people you were once in contact with are no longer in your life. Equally, there might be new people in your life – you may get married, you may have children, in the event of change, it is important to update your will. Bear in mind that if you do get married, your current will shall be rendered void anyway.

Most simple changes to a will can be made with what is called a codicil, this requires witnesses and a signature just as your original will did. This can be done for simple additions and changes such as your address. You can add as many codicils as are necessary, but, if you want to make major changes, you should consider writing a new will. If you do this, the old will must be destroyed.

David Johnson is the owner of Asset Wills, an Essex will writing company who specialise in writing, protecting and executing wills on behalf of their clients.

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