When it comes to writing your Will, you want to be absolutely certain that your wishes will be carried out. A watertight Will ensures that you have nothing to worry about once you pass away, and gives ultimate peace of mind that you will be able to take care of your family and loved ones even when you’re gone.
Writing a Will can be confusing and a little overwhelming, but as expert Wills and Probate lawyers, we’re here to guide you through every stage of the process. With extensive expertise in completing Wills for a large number of clients over the years, we’re committed to learning about what’s important to you, and to ensuring all of your wishes are detailed and your Will meets legal requirements.
Here are our top 5 tips for writing your Will, to help you get the process started.
Tip 1: Don’t hesitate!
The best advice we can give to anyone considering writing a Will is to get started as soon as possible. While it can be a difficult or daunting prospect, making a Will with DRN is a simple and straightforward process. What’s more, once you’ve made your Will, you will no longer have to worry about what may happen to your estate or other assets after your death.
The sooner you make your Will, the sooner you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your family, friends and loved ones will be able to carry out your wishes exactly as you planned.
Tip 2: Enlist the expert support of a Wills and Probate lawyer.
Whilst it might be tempting to attempt creating your own Will without the help of a solicitor, it’s important to note that it is easy to make a mistake when drafting your Will if you’re not completely familiar with the processes involved. Errors in your Will could lead to your beneficiaries missing out on receiving what you wish to gift to them, and errors can even reduce the value of your estate, as funds could need to be offset towards unexpected tax bills, or the cost dealing with a legal fallout from disgruntled beneficiaries.
Making your Will with a trusted legal professional means you’ll be covered by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority. A qualified solicitor will understand the intricate legalities and be able to offer in-depth tax advice, including details on your inheritance tax allowance, enabling you to make decisions now to aid your family and loved ones in the future.
Check for the WIQS mark. WIQS is a recognised quality assurance scheme which awards the very best Wills and Probate lawyers with certificates and accreditations – an achievement which DRN have successfully reached year after year.
Tip 3: Choose who you want to leave your estate and assets to.
A key fact to make note of is that your assets and estate will not automatically be passed to your partner, no matter how long you have been together.
If you live with a partner but are not married, and have no Will in place, the law states that your assets will be passed to your nearest blood relatives. Making a Will ensures that your home, assets, investments and any other items in your estate pass to your partner if you wish them to do so.
In addition, choosing not to make a Will means dying “intestate”. This means your assets will devolve according to intestacy rules and will be divided in strict order amongst blood relatives. In such circumstances, your assets could even pass into the hands of a blood relative you are no longer in contact with, or someone you might not even have met.
Tip 4: Remember to appoint guardians.
In some Wills, details are given on the subjects of assets and estate, but guardianship can be overlooked, especially if you are in a family unit with more than one parent.
While it isn’t pleasant to think about, your Will should consider the worst-case scenario, and provide a plan for if it should occur. Should you and your partner pass away, provisions must be made to ensure your children are cared for by those you know and trust. If a guardian is not appointed, one will be automatically appointed by the court.
If you are in an unmarried partnership, it is important to place each other as guardians so that any children you have under the age of 18 are automatically legally placed in your partner’s care in the event of your death.
Tip 5: Choose your executors wisely
Choosing the executors of your Will is a big decision, and it is better to choose more than one in many cases. Your executors will be in charge of exercising your wishes and dealing with all aspects of your estate. It is important to talk through your plans and double check that the person you’d like to be your executor is willing to be. Be sure to explain what the role might entail, as it is a substantial responsibility to take on and you need to be absolutely sure the executors will have the ability to perform their duties and maximise the estate for your chosen beneficiaries.
You should also confide in your executors the location of your Will. You should keep it safe, ideally with your solicitor. Whilst a safety deposit box may seem like the safest place to keep your Will, choosing to deposit it with your bank can cause complications, as banks are not legally allowed to grant access to a safety deposit box without the executor having probate, and probate cannot be granted without reviewing your Will!
Entrusting your Will into the safe hands of your solicitor is the best option. Most solicitors will also register your Will on the Certainty National Will register, which maintains a record of the location of your Will to prevent fraud or loss – a service offered by DRN to all clients, free of charge.
If you’d like more advice on our Wills and Probate services, or if you’d like to speak to our lawyers about writing your Will, contact us today on 01282 433 241.