What to consider before making a Will

Despite what is written, making a Will is never as ‘easy’ as most people think it is. In our experience even the most straight forward Wills can and do have areas that need to thought about and discussed.

The following is some advice on a few of these areas you need to consider thoroughly before you meet a Will Consultant.

After your meeting a ‘draft’ Will is produced, this is the first document based on your thoughts. This may well be the final document and no further changes are required, but quite often once you have read the draft and had time to think you may wish to make amendments. This is normal and our intention is to ensure that your wishes are correct and accurate so never be afraid to make changes or discuss any issues that are of concern to you.

Name & Address details

It is vital that FULL names and current address details are made available for anyone being noted in your Will – beneficiaries, Executors, Trustees etc This is vital to ensure the legal process is correct and ensures the right people are noted, if there are errors it could effect the Probate process on your death and cause serious problems.

Executors & Trustees

These are very important people and need to chosen wisely, to clarify Executors are appointed to carry out the wishes made in your Will, deal with Probate, pay any debts and distribute the estate. Not a task to be taken lightly and one which takes time, effort and aptitude so getting the right people is essential.

Trustees can be Executors too but can also be separate people who you feel would look after any funds of your estate for children, dependent relatives, the disabled or elderly etc They may have to set up Trust Funds, complete returns to the Inland Revenue so clearly you need again to consider any appointments very carefully.

We can help you in providing information of the use of Professional Trustees such as solicitors, Trust Corporations etc – whilst fees are payable it could be peace of mind to know that your estate will be dealt with efficiently by experts in this field. We are always happy to discuss this area and answer any questions you may have.

Guardians

This can be a highly contentious area as parents of children regularly disagree as to who would be the best people to care for their children – matters such as; will the children have to move area, schooling, costs, religious beliefs etc are important to most people.

You need to consider the situation of the person(s) you wish to act for you, what is their situation, do they have a big enough property, what monies will they need from your estate to take care of your children etc.

Beneficiaries

Who do you want your estate to go to? Spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings etc? Very important you are satisfied when the estate is distributed.

If part of your estate goes to children under the age of 18 years when do you want them to inherit 21, 25 etc? Maybe you want them to receive any funds in stages e.g. half at aged 21 years and the balance at 25 years for example.

Gifts

Do you wish to make any gifts of money or other assets etc to individuals, groups, charities or other organizations? Full details are required if you do.

Trusts

Do you want to protect your estate against potential Care Home Fees or Inheritance Tax?

Do you want your half of the property to be placed in Trust but allow your spouse, partner to remain in the property?

If you are divorced of have children from a previous marriage or relationship, do you want to protect their inheritance?

Do you have any disabled children or dependent relatives who have benefits that are means tested? An inheritance could adversely affect these.

There are many ways that Trusts can be very beneficial, however they do not suit everyone and we will discuss your situation and advise you accordingly so you are in possession of all the facts to help you make a decision.

Business Assets

Do you want to protect the Shares in your business – who do you want to run the business after your death or is it to be sold?

Funeral Wishes

Have you thought about your funeral? Burial or cremation – any particular place – do you want flowers of donations to a favourite charity instead?

Summary

All of these matters are ‘food for thought’ and your Will Consultant will take you through each one in detail and explain the implications involved where applicable. We encourage you to always ask lots of questions, never be afraid to and never have any doubt – your Will is the most important document you need to ensure is right, whoever long it takes to get it right does not matter.

Greenwell Consultancy