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Writing your Will can be quite a daunting task, and it is often hard to understand what you should include. To make sure everyone gets what you want to give them, and that your final wishes are followed, find out what you should include, and how you should include them.

If you are thinking about writing a Will to make sure your estate and assets are distributed as you wish after you pass, it may seem like a large task ahead of you. To make this easier for you, here is exactly what you should include in your Will, how the distribution works and how to make sure the right things go to the right people.

How does the distribution of your Will work?

When you first decide to make a Will, the best way to start is to list all your assets and property to work out what you have, how much your estate totals and what you would like to give to whom. This is also a good way to find out whether your loved ones will be affected by Inheritance Tax.

Most Will distributions are made up of three separate aspects:

  • Cash legacies – It will be up to you to decide how and who your cash is left to and in the case of legacies, these are fixed sums of money.
  • Bequests – where you can bequeath possessions, treasured items and even property to whomever you wish, if they are solely yours to give.
  • The residue – After any debts, taxes, and fees have been paid from your estate, the money left over is known as the residue of your estate. This can also be assigned to one or multiple people in your will, although you will not be able to name a set amount, unlike legacies.

About bequests and legacies 

There are, broadly speaking, four different types of legacy you can leave to family or friends, depending on how you want the legacy to behave.

  • Pecuniary bequests are simple statements of a monetary legacy e.g. “I leave my daughter £5000”. With this bequest, you are leaving a fixed sum of money.
  • Specific bequests work as ways to leave a specific item or collection of items that you own to a person. You will have to identify it in your Will with a description so that when the time comes it can be recognised and given to the correct recipient. An example of this would be “I leave my jewellery to my granddaughter.”
  • Residuary bequests refer to the money left behind after taxes, debts, costs, liabilities and legacies are paid.  If you state in your Will that “I leave half my estate to my sister” then you will be leaving a percentage of your residue to the person determined.
  • Reversionary bequests are created to specify what would happen to something should the person who you leave it to passes away. For example, “I leave my share of my house to my husband if she survives me, but if she does not survive me then it will pass to my sons.”

Another aspect of legacies to be aware of is the creation of ‘trusts’. This allows you to say who you would like to benefit from what you leave immediately after your death, and then who you would like to have benefited from the same items or property once the first person you have chosen has passed away. This is what a trust would be: “I leave my share of the house to my wife for the rest of her life, and then it will pass to my children.” These types of gifts are particularly prone to going wrong, so it is often advisable to get legal advice if you would like to include a ‘trust’ in your Will.

Children and Pets

If or when you decide to have children, it is a good idea write a Will. Especially while your children are underage, your Will allows you to state who you would like their legal guardian to be if you pass away before they turn 18. You will also need to use your Will to say where the money will come from to look after them. These details are usually set out in the form of ‘trusts’.  

If your children are set to inherit money and/or property on the event of your death, it is held in trust until they are 18 or until they get married. Your executors will specify how the ‘trust’ should be managed if you don’t specifically say.

This process can also be a great way to look after any pets you have. You will be able to designate the same care and monetary provision in your will as you would for a child and be able to designate someone to look after them if you pass away.

Choosing executors for your Will

Your Will is also where you state who the executors of your Will should be when you pass away. You should choose these people with care since they are the people who will be making sure your Will and wishes are followed. Your executors can be friends or family and, due to this, are often likely to also be given something through your Will too. The only restriction on executors is that they cannot also act as an official witness to your Will.

Making a Will is not a difficult task if you find the right support. Here at Funeral Planning Experts we can put you in touch with specialist Will Writers, all of whom provide a simple and straight forward service, allowing you to ensure your final wishes are met.

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