Having a will in place helps to explain to others what you would like to happen to your money and belongings after you die. Without this, the law decides how this is passed on and this may not be in line with what you would want.
It also makes the process much easier and less stressful for your family or friends. It’s especially important if you have children or other family that depend on you financially or if you want to leave something to someone outside your immediate family.
Before writing a will, it’s a good idea to get draw up a list of your assets and debts that make up your ‘estate’. Assets typically include your home and any property you own, savings, pension funds, investments and personal belongings. Debts may include a mortgage, credit card balances and loans.
It’s also worth getting your assets valued regularly because this may change over time.
You should then give some thought to what you would like to happen to your estate and who you would like to inherit your most important assets. You should consider who you want to benefit from your will, whether you want to give specific gifts to family or friends and what you want to happen if any of your beneficiaries should die before you.
Next you need to consider who will be the ‘executors’ – the people who will deal with distributing your estate in accordance with your will. This role can involve a significant amount of work and responsibility so it’s worth thinking carefully about who you wish to appoint.
Once you have given some thought to your estate and who you wish to appoint as executors for your estate, you can then have your will written. There are several ways to do this, from will-writing services and do-it-yourself wills, to charities, banks, and solicitors.
Whilst preparing your will, it may be a good opportunity to a lasting power of attorney if you have not already done so. This helps to give you peace of mind that someone you trust can make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if you're no longer able to.
The great news is that throughout March, you can have a will written or updated free of charge as part of Free Wills Month. If you’re aged 55 or over, it’s good opportunity to get your documents in order, with participating solicitors offering their support and expertise completely free of charge.
So, if you haven’t yet got a will in place, why not visit the Free Wills Month website to find out more and book an appointment.
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