Making a Will Checklist
Follow our making a will checklist and rest safe in the knowledge that you’ve planned for the future of your loved ones effectively.
It is important for everyone to have a Will, but for those who have children under the age of 18 it is especially important as your Will appoints legal guardians for those children should anything happen to you.
Choose a reliable executor
The executor of a Will is the person who sorts out all your affairs once you have passed away, including distributing the assets you have left to your loved ones. Think carefully about who you choose for your executor as the role comes with lots of responsibility and takes time to complete. You can appoint more than one executor and/or you can choose a professional executor, often your solicitor.
Who do you want to inherit?
Next, you will need to think about the person or persons you want to leave money or items in your Will, such as property, money and possessions. The people who receive inheritance from your Will are known as the beneficiaries.
You will need to consider the following:
- Who do you want to benefit from your Will and what do you want them to inherit?
- If you plan to leave items to young people, at what age do you want them to receive their inheritance?
- What do you want to happen to your estate if one of the beneficiaries dies before you do?
- Do you want to leave money to a charitable organisation?
- Is there anyone you want to exclude from your Will?
- If there is something left after everyone has received their inheritance, who do you want to receive the remainder?
Excluding someone from your Will
You are able to exclude people from your Will but in some cases the excluded person may be able to contest the Will if they feel this is unfair, such as if they were financially dependant on you or believe the Will was created under undue pressure or influence. So, to ensure your wishes are carried out after you are gone, you should seek legal advice. It might also be a good idea to include a letter with your Will to explain why you have made certain decisions.
Consider inheritance tax
If the total value of your estate is worth more than the inheritance tax threshold, you will be liable for inheritance tax. There are a number of exemptions and reliefs available that help to safeguard the value of your estate and minimise the amount of tax you will need to pay. Seek professional legal advice from an experienced solicitor to find out how to take advantage of these.
Do you have wealth abroad?
If you have international wealth, you will need to carefully consider how you structure it with the wealth you have in the UK to minimise the amount of tax your estate will be liable for after your death. It’s advisable to ensure your international assets are organised to work with your UK Will by seeking the help of a lawyer who is experienced in international inheritance laws.
Do you own a business?
Shareholders of private companies and partners will need to consider who and how they want to pass their interests on to. You will need to think about Who you would want to become part of your business and whether the documents regulating your business restrict who can inherit.
Power of Attorney
When you make a Will, it’s often a good idea to make a Power of Attorney at the same time. A Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you choose a trusted friend or relative to make decisions for you should you lose the mental capacity to do so yourself. This can be for matters related to finance and property or health and welfare, or both.
Special requests for your funeral
As well as stating who will inherit your estate, you can also use your Will to outline any requests you have regarding your funeral, including what happens to your body.
Storing your Will
Your Will is one of the most important legal documents you will make so you need to ensure it is stored somewhere that is safe and secure and that is also easily accessible after you have gone. Specialist solicitors will often have safes dedicated to this sole purpose that will keep your Will safe from theft, fire or other types of damage.
If you’d like more information on what’s involved in making a Will, please don’t hesitate to contact Trethowans here today or call on 0800 2800 421 and one of our specialist private client solicitors will be happy to help.
Trethowans is the South’s leading law firm and our fully qualified and experienced solicitors ensure your Will is correct and legally binding so you can be sure your wishes will be carried out once you are gone. With offices in Salisbury, Southampton, Poole, Bournemouth, Winchester and London, we’re here whenever you need us.