Making a Will is important for all of us but is something that a lot of us put off doing for various reasons. Some people just don’t like to think about death.
Others find it hard to decide what to do with their assets after their death. It is important to make a Will to provide for the smooth transfer of assets on death with the minimum of tax payable by the beneficiaries. It also allows you to have your say as to what happens your own assets and minimises the risk of disputes within your family.
Here are just a few pointers to help organise your thoughts in relation to making a Will:
Make a list of your assets including any property that you own, any bank accounts or life insurance policies that you hold and any other significant assets.
You need to choose an Executor, or preferably, two Executors. The people you choose should be trustworthy and well organised as they will be the people who will organise the administration of your estate on your death.
If you have children who are under eighteen you should also consider choosing Guardians for those children in the unlikely event that both you and your spouse die at the same time (for example if you were both involved in a car accident). This allows you to choose the people who will look after your children in such an event. You should discuss this with them before nominating them in your Will as you must be sure that they are prepared to take on the task.
Do not try to see too far into the future. Make your Will to suit your current circumstances. Your Will can and should be changed a number of times during your lifetime to reflect your changing circumstances.
Remember that it is only the last Will you make before you die that has legal effect.
Consider how you want to distribute your assets and to whom.
When you have thought about your Will, taking the above pointers into account, make an appointment with us and we will discuss the more technical aspects with you including Capital Acquisitions Tax, your duties and obligations with regard to your spouse and / or children, possible trusts in favour of children etc.
It may also be advisable to create an enduring Power of Attorney at the same time as making your Will. This is a document that allows you to nominate a trusted friend or family member to make important care and financial decisions for you should you be unable to do so yourself in the future due to mental incapacity. We can also advise on the implications of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010.
In addition to advising on Wills, we have years of experience in relation to the administration of estates whether or not the deceased has made a Will. This has become an increasingly complex area, mainly from a taxation point of view. We would be happy to meet with you to discuss all aspects of it with you.