What Should you Consider when Writing a Will?
Studies have shown that Brits throughout the UK are not very good at talking about their death.
When it comes to planning the distribution of your estate after your death, you may not know exactly where to start. The following guide identifies 7 key considerations that everyone should make to ensure that you can have your will drawn up in a manner whereby it cannot be contested.
1. What do you have to leave?
What are your assets and liabilities?
It’s important to make a list of all your assets and liabilities to know what you’ve got, and how much they’re worth in order to get a full picture of your estate.
Having a complete understanding of what possessions you have to pass on to your loved ones, and their value, as well as what liabilities – if any – you leave behind will make the process of dividing your estate among your beneficiaries easier.
2. Who do you wish to benefit?
Think about the family, friends and charities you would like to benefit, and how you would you wish to benefit them.
For example – will you simply divide your estate equally between all parties? Are there any particular assets or personal items you wish to leave to any specific individual? Or do you want to benefit certain beneficiaries more than others?
3. Who are your executors?
Your executors are the person(s) responsible for sorting through your affairs and making sure your wishes are followed.
An executor can range from family members or friends, as well as professionals such as solicitors.
It may appear easier, and more cost effective to appoint your family, but will it be a amicable process? Could they work together without conflict? It might be worth considering appointing someone neutral to minimise any potential conflict and to ensure your wishes are carried out as smoothly as possible.
If you have young children, you need to consider who you would want to look after them should the unfortunate happen and both parents pass away.
It should go without saying that you should nominate a guardian that will be the greatest influence on your child, but that also wouldn’t be “burdened” by the responsibility. Elderly, sick, or distant relatives may not be the most prudent option. If potential guardians are not named in your will, the court will decide who gains custody over your children.
5. Tax planning
Couples may wish to preserve their assets against potential issues after the death of the first partner, such as remarriage of the survivor, or the need for care. Preserving money for a vulnerable child without compromising their benefits, protect against future bankruptcy, divorce, or for a beneficiary are also important considerations to make.
Another avenue to consider would be to utilise lifetime gifts to reduce the value of your estate to minimise Inheritance Tax. At the time of writing this, you are able to make tax free gifts of up to £3,000 throughout the year.
6. Protecting your Business
If you have a business, you’ll likely want to protect it.
Depending on the structure of your business, whether it is a Limited Company with multiple directors, a partnership, or a sole trader, you may need to ask yourself – would the business be able to continue after your death?
If you have employees, would they become unemployed in the event of your death, or would there be an individual who could inherit/continue your business?
7. Funeral wishes
Funeral arrangements can often be the most emotional part aspect of someone’s death. Lifting this burden from your family and friends by providing details of exactly what you want your funeral wishes to be can go a long way.
Some considerations to make when planning for your funeral could include:
- Do you want to be buried or cremated, and if so, where?
- Do you want a religious service?
- Do you have any particular music played or readings/poetry read?
We realise talking about any death, whether its your own, or a loved one’s is not easy. However, if you have a family – especially young children, a business, or charitable obligations, it is integral to ensure your estate is properly looked after in the event of your death.
At Davey Law, we will guide you through the process of drafting al will carefully and sensitively, making sure that your wishes are fully understood and recorded. If you need assistance in writing your will or you think you may need your will reviewed, please contact a member of our team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling our Cirencester Office: 01285 654875, or our Gloucester Office: 01452 508800.