What you need to think about when writing your Will
Writing a Will isn’t and shouldn’t be something that you create in ten minutes. It is an official document that states how, and where, your assets and estate will be distributed after you pass away – there are a lot of important decisions you need to make. The time you take to make these decisions can actually take longer than writing up the document.
Before you write your Will, you might want to take into consideration the following.
Choosing the executors and beneficiaries of your Will
When choosing executors for your Will, it is important that you choose someone of whom you trust the judgement of. Who you appoint will be responsible for settling your affairs and distributing your estate. This can be a family-member, family-friend or professional. Bear in mind that appointing children or relatives as executors may add further stress and emotions to an already difficult time.
Depending on what assets and gifts you would like to give away upon your death, you will need to clearly specify what, how much and to who you would like to give these to. The executor/s can then clearly carry out your wishes.
Appointing a guardian for minor children
If one parent passes away and the other is still alive, they will generally get custody of any minor children (under 18). In circumstances where both parents are dead or the surviving parent is unfit, unless you have specified in your Will, the courts may make a decision that is out of your control.
To prevent this from happening, it is important that you state a first and second choice as guardians for any minor children you may have. You must clearly explain the relationship of the guardian/s to your child and why you have appointed them as a guardian.
Creating a Trust
A Trust is usually set up when you have children under the age of 18; an arrangement set up by a Will or Deed. Trustees are appointed on behalf of the beneficiaries (the child/children under 18) to manage the money, property or assets named to them until they are old enough in the eyes of the law to take responsibility for them.
Where you are going to store your Will
It is extremely important that your Will be stored in a safe location, and somewhere that your family or executors can get access it. JWD offers free and secure Will storage if the document is created with us.
We suggest you appoint a solicitor when creating your Will. Making a Will doesn’t technically require the service of a solicitor, however, to ensure it is valid (particularly if it includes businesses or investments outside of the UK) it is important you seek legal guidance.
Although we can’t make the decisions for you, we are here to support and guide you through the will-making process. For more information, please get in touch with a member of our Wills and Probate Team.
Have you thought about setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Whilst you are fit and well, it might be a good idea to also create a Lasting Power of Attorney to protect your future. An LPA is a legal document that ensures your appointed relative or friend takes care of your interests should you lose the mental capacity to do so yourself.
You have the choice of a Health and Welfare LPA, and a Property and Finance LPA, depending on what areas of your future you would like to protect.