No one likes to think about a time when they will be gone, but you can put your mind at ease if you use the right will writing solicitors. They will be able to make sure that all the legal components of your will are correct and that those left behind will be given what you want to leave to them. In 2018, Macmillan Cancer Support ran a survey that found that nearly two-thirds of adults in the UK have not prepared a will. This means that their possessions, money, property, and even dependent children could be left with someone that they would not have chosen. By taking the right steps, this can easily be avoided.
What do I need to consider when writing my will?
Drafting a will on your own can be a complicated process that will depend on a number of different things. If you have a particularly large family, then it may take more considerations and a longer amount of time to calculate and determine who will be left what. Some of the main considerations about what will have to be included in your loved one’s will include:
- The value of your estate
This includes how much money you have in bank accounts and pension funds, any property and/or land that you own and any investments that you have made.
- Who you would like to benefit from your will
This could mean that you leave people a certain percentage of your money, as well as certain possessions such as jewellery, or property.
- Who will look after any of your children
Any of your children who are under the age of 18 years old will have to be assigned a legal guardian in your place.
- Who you want to execute the details of your will
This will be the appointed person who will sort out the estate and carry out your wishes in your absence.
In order for your will to be legal, it needs to adhere to the criteria that is laid down in law under the Wills Act 1937. This is why it is always the best course of action to get a dedicated will writer to deal with the document. A will is only ever legal if you:
- Are 18 years old or over,
- Write it voluntarily
- Are of sound mind
- Sign it in the presence of two witnesses who are over 18, and
- Have two witnesses sign it in the presence
What is probate?
Probate is something else that you will need to consider in the process of sorting out your will. Specialist probate solicitors will be able to assist and guide you through this process. It is the name for the legal process that it is sometimes necessary for your loved ones to go through after your death in order to deal with your estate.
If you have passed away and left behind a valid will, then they will be able to apply for a grant of probate. Once probate has been granted, the assets can then be released to the beneficiaries. Whether or not probate is actually necessary will depend on the total value of the estate. Whether your assets were held solely in your name or jointly with a partner will also play a part in determining whether Probate is necessary.
What is a deed of variation?
A deed of variation is a legal document that would allow the beneficiaries of your estate – perhaps your children – to make changes to your will. While this might sound potentially problematic in terms of your exact wishes being carried out, it can have some benefits in terms of tax-efficiency, or if you have inadvertently left someone out of your will. The rules for a deed of variation to be valid are:
- It must be drawn up within 24 months of someone passing away
- It must be signed by all the executors and beneficiaries of the estate
Thinking about a time after you’re gone can be difficult, but taking the right steps prior to your death can put your mind at ease. Use the right legal services, and you can relax in the knowledge that you have done the