10th June 2021
A Will helps you divide your estate and other assets amongst whoever you choose when you pass away. There are a few factors you will want to consider when instructing a STEP qualified Solicitor to draft a Will.
In this article, we will go over some of the details that will help you better understand when to do so. It is an important step in anyone’s life when they choose to plan for their estate and their family’s future — and ensuring that it is done when one is still mentally capable is critical.
Requirements For Making A Will
In order for your Will to be valid, you must make sure it meets the following criteria:
- The person who is writing the Will must be at least 18 years old.
- The Will instructions must be given without any pressure by anyone else.
- You need to be of sound mind, which means that you must understand that you are making a Will and that it will take effect on your death
- Your Will must be signed by the person making the will and two witnesses.
- The two witnesses must also sign the Will in the presence of the person drafting the Will after that person has signed it.
- As soon as the Will is signed and witnessed, it is valid.
Importance Of Having A Will
A Will isn’t just so you can divide up your material wealth when you die — it’s a way for you to have the peace of mind that your wishes are carried out on your death. No matter your age, unexpected and unfortunate events can occur, and having a Will can save you and your family time, stress and struggle in an already difficult time.
Young people commonly believe they don’t need a Will because they are too young and have few possessions, however, what determines whether a person requires a Will is whether they have property or their particular family circumstances.
Major life events should always trigger a new Will or an Update
A Will is especially important for those with considerable wealth or assets, those who are recently married or divorced, have had their own children or gained stepchildren, or any combination of major life events. For example if you have remarried, unless you change your Will in favour of your new spouse, your previous spouse could be the main beneficiary.
If you die without a Will, which is known as dying ‘intestate’, your assets become much more difficult to distribute which may lead to family disputes.
Other important ways a Will can help
Here is a list of some of the other ways a Will can be used to reflect your wishes and protect your loved ones in the event of your passing:
- Funeral arrangements: some may think it morbid to think about this before old age, but injury and death can unfortunately happen anytime. Saving your family the need to argue what you “would have wanted” is something very important that a Will can specify for you. Specifics like whether you would prefer to be buried or cremated are important choices and are best clarified in writing.
- If you have children, you are able to name their guardian in case anything happens to you if they are under 18 years old. This allows you to choose the best option for their wellbeing and care, rather than leaving it to chance or the state who might put them into care.
- If you have a partner but are unmarried, keep in mind they are not entitled to anything from your estate unless you specifically state it in your Will. Writing a Will ensures your partner receives what you wish them to have on your death.
- Whatever you leave to your spouse or civil partner will be exempt from inheritance tax. The amount of inheritance tax that is charged to your estate depends on the size of your estate. Writing a Will allows you to get advice so that you can find out whether inheritance tax is an issue that you need to address.
- You can name an Executor (or more than one if you would like) who will be in charge of carrying out your wishes after you pass. Choosing an Executor ahead of time makes sure you have a dedicated party that will handle the affairs of your estate when you pass..
Many more factors go into creating a Will. There is no definitive age to start drafting your Will, but having one in place when you are young — and updating it when major life events happen — helps ensure that you are securing your estate and that your loved ones will be cared for according to your wishes once you pass.
Ensure Your Future With Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors
Visiting a solicitor, no matter what age, should be an easy and welcoming experience. At Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors, you can be assured to get that kind of treatment as soon as you walk through the door. Your wishes will be listened to as we give our expert advice during your visit.
Visit us online and book a meeting using our easy-to-use appointment calendar system. We offer many appointment times for your busy schedule. For empathy, understanding, professionalism and the expert care you are looking for, contact Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors today.