Thoughts to consider before making or updating a Will are as follows:
If you have children under the age of eighteen, guardians must be appointed to look after them in the event of your death. Guardianship appointments only normally take effect when all of those with existing parental responsibility have died. Please obtain permission of your chosen guardians first! There are rules as to who has parental responsibility and if you are not sure whether your partner has parental responsibility for your child please contact us for advice. If no guardians are nominated then the Courts will decide who will look after your children.
An Executor must be appointed to ensure that your financial requirements, wishes, and desires are carried out after your death as per your Will. This person(s) must be trustworthy as they will cash in your assets and pay all your debts (and any inheritance tax due) and distribute the assets. Executors are often chosen to act as “Trustees” as well. Trustees take on the role of looking after any money or property for minor beneficiaries or for any length of time. Most people will appoint their spouse as their first choice and one or two alternatives. Please obtain permission from your alternative Executors/Trustees.
Many people wish to state in their Will whether they wish to be buried or cremated. Although it is not a requirement of the Will, please think about what you want and if you have any specific requirements. Funeral Plans are also available and your Will can simply state that you wished to be buried or cremated according to your funeral plan.
Please list any personal gifts you wish to make in your Will, e.g. jewellery, etc. making sure that the description clearly identifies the item(s). Gifts of money or even “all of your estate” can be left to chosen beneficiaries . If these beneficiaries happen to be a charity ensure that you know the correct name and registered charity number. If your chosen beneficiaries include a vulnerable person it is possible to include a trust within the Will allowing your trustees to retain control of the money and have full discretion as to when and how the money is used. This often prevents their means tested benefits from being affected.
In the event of your, and if applicable your spouse, being deceased who would you like to benefit from your estate? Some people call this a “disaster clause” and it is here that our clients often choose a charity should such a disaster occur.