Posted by Michelle Young, Will Writing & Estate Planning Expert
When you are writing your Will, you should ensure that it is an accurate reflection of your wishes. To make sure that your most important assets are dealt with accordingly after you pass, take some time to carefully consider your decisions before writing your Will.
If you have never thought about writing a Will before, it can be difficult to know where to begin, and the whole task can feel a little daunting. There are however some key decisions that you can start thinking about before you write your Will, such as who and what you should be including. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you start the Will writing process.
Your assets are all the things that you own which need to be included in your Will. A good way to start is by listing all of your assets, and the approximate value of each one. This includes property, vehicles, cash, and any personal possessions of value. Make note of any mortgages and loans, and if you own a house, you will need to consider the type of property ownership (whether you own it independently or it is jointly shared). If your house is jointly owned, the survivor will acquire the property, and it will not form part of your Will.
As well as the more traditional ‘possessions’, in today’s world, we also need to consider digital assets such as online bank accounts, domain names and social media accounts which may generate money.
Once you have compiled all the asset information, keep it a safe place, easily accessible by your loved ones.
If you have children, choosing a legal guardian in the event of your death is an important part of writing your Will. You may think that a close family member would automatically receive custody, but if you don’t specifically name a guardian in your Will, anyone can ask to look after your children.
This is undoubtedly a tough decision, so start by making a list of all the possible guardians/trustees and talk over the pros and cons of each with your partner. Consider their parenting style, values and religious beliefs as well as their financial situation. Try and choose someone who your child already feels comfortable with, and who can offer them a secure future and home.
It is important to approach your key people and ask how they would feel about becoming a named guardian. These conversations could suggest they would feel uncomfortable taking on the responsibility, and your decision may become easier to make.
If your children are old enough to not require a guardian, it is a good idea to make arrangements for a financial planner to help them handle their finances after you have passed.
An executor is a name given to the person you would like to be responsible for carrying out your final wishes as they are outlined in your Will. This is not a job to be taken lightly, so although it may be tempting to just hand the job over to a close family member, you need to question whether you think they are up to the task at hand, as well as being young and healthy enough to deal with it. Above all, make your it is someone that you can trust wholeheartedly.
When choosing your executor, try to choose someone who is a named beneficiary of the estate, as it means that the task is at least of interest to them. Again, make sure they are happy to take on the role, and if you are uncomfortable with asking a family member, you can choose a solicitor or accountant instead.
Distributing your assets can feel like a huge task, but there a few considerations that can make the process feel a little simpler.
First, identify your dependants. These include your partner, such as a spouse, civil partner, or anyone you have been living with for at least the last two years, your children, whether they are your biological children or step children, and anyone else you have been financially providing for, such as an elderly relative. Once you have decided on your beneficiaries, you will need to be able to provide their names and contact details.
Next, you will need to think about how you would like them to receive their gifts once you pass. There are a few ways to leave gifts of money to your beneficiaries. You can give a lump sum (or capital) or arrange a regular income (interest).
Don’t overlook smaller items, either. Whilst some items, such as family heirlooms, may not be worth much money, they could hold huge sentimental value instead. Think about whether you have any cherished items that you would like to gift to someone special.
Writing a Will is a big task, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be a daunting one. There are a few options to consider, so take some time to research which one is best for you.
If you’re ready to get the ball rolling and start writing your Will, get a quick price comparison with Funeral Planning Experts today. We have a huge range of reputable companies at hand, who offer a simple and straightforward service to help ensure that your final wishes are met.
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