Peter Lee (Wills and Estate Planning) Limited

What’s it all about – Making a Will

What’s it all about? Making a Will

Making a Will is one of the most important steps you will ever take. It shows responsibility and care for your next of kin. Without a Will, your family will be subject to the law dictating to whom your assets pass and who will deal with your estate. There will be no special gifts, which may be very important to you, and no involvement of friends which may also be significant. Furthermore you may need to consider special family circumstances such as young children and the possible impact of inheritance tax. Don’t forget that if you die “intestate” (without a Will), your estate may not all pass to your spouse. There’s quite a lot to think about.
So what do you need to think about when planning to make a Will? Here are some tips and suggestions which will save time and may save you some costs. Oh and by the way, and you would expect me to say this, unless you have the requisite skills, please don’t be tempted to make a home-made Will. A badly-drawn Will can create huge problems for your family. Take advice from a qualified professional, skilled in these topics and be clear as to the costs involved.

Think about the following……………….

Your family and any other beneficiaries
Whoever prepares a Will for you will need details of your family and beneficiaries including full names, addresses, ages and relationship to you. Make a list.

Choice of executors
Executors are the persons or the person responsible for dealing with your estate following your death and seeing that your wishes, expressed in your Will, are carried out. You can appoint your next of kin, friends or e.g. a professional or a Bank. You should consider an appointment of a first choice executor and a reserve. You can appoint more than one for each of these positions but in normal circumstances, I would not suggest appointing more than two to act at the same time.

Guardians for children under 18
If you have under-age children, there may be sound reasons why you wish to appoint a guardian of those children. The desirability of doing so is determined by the circumstances in which you and the other parent are living and the circumstances of the children. This can be quite a complex topic and needs discussion.

Special and specific gifts
You may wish to make gifts of specific items, a painting or cash sums e.g. £250 to a friends, relative or a charity. If so, please make a list and decide if there are any conditions attaching to those gifts, for instance, that a grandchild cannot have the gift until they reach the age of 21.

Gifts of your “residuary” estate
Having addressed any special or specific gift, you need to decide to whom the remainder of your estate will pass. This is called your “residuary” estate. You need to identify the beneficiary or beneficiaries and the shares of your residuary estate they will inherit e.g. all of it, or 25% each etc

Reserve beneficiaries
It is wise to consider listing “reserve” beneficiaries so that there is always someone to inherit your estate. For example, if you leave your estate to your spouse or partner, and they die before you, you might decide that in those circumstances your children shall inherit your estate equally between them.

Inheritance Tax
Part of the process of making a Will should be to establish whether your estate is one upon which Inheritance Tax could be payable and if so how much and when. From there, consideration can be given to whether there are any steps which can be taken to reduce that burden.

Your assets and liabilities
Bearing in mind the last point about Inheritance Tax, it is important that you have a clear picture of your assets and liabilities and their values. Make a list showing approximate values. Don’t forget pensions, life assurance policies and employee benefits such as death -in -service payments. These will all fall to be dealt with following your death, even if their destiny and beneficiaries are not governed by your Will, which may be the case.

Any specific objectives
Sometimes, those making a Will have very clear objectives as to whom they wish to benefit and what they wish to achieve by their Will. Sometimes, equally clear views are held as to those they do not wish to acquire any part of their estate.

Are you wishing to exclude someone who might expect to be a beneficiary?
This sometimes is the case. The law gives certain people the right to claim that a Will does not make “reasonable financial provision” for them. If you are wishing to exclude someone from your Will who might expect to be a beneficiary, this needs to be discussed, as certain steps can be taken with a view to mitigating the risk of such a claim arising.

Funeral arrangements
Finally, you may have strong views about the religious nature of your funeral and whether you wish to be buried or cremated. If you have such views you may wish to express them in your Will.

And finally……………………..
Hopefully your circumstances are such that making all these decisions and dealing with these tasks will present no problems or challenges for you. However, I recognise that sometimes, considerable thought is required and sometime there is a need for family discussion.
Don’t forget that it is important for your Executors to know that you are appointing them and that they are content to be appointed. If they need to understand more about their role or you need any support, I can speak with them to provide them with the appropriate explanations and guidance.
So, quite a lot to think about but hopefully you now know a little more of what is involved. You have taken the first important step. Now you can progress to complete making your Will.

Peter Lee
Director

Peter Lee (Wills and Estate Planning) Limited
Registered in England – Company number 9739979
Registered Office: 88 Stoops Lane Doncaster DN4 7RY
Telephone 01302 531161 or 07788 718729
E-mail: peter@peterlee-wep.co.uk
Website: http://www.peterlee-wep.co.uk

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