How To Make The Perfect Will
The need to write a will is always there, but it can make people rather anxious – they don’t like to think about their own deaths, and neither do they want to make a mistake that would make their will invalid when they do pass away. So it is often a job that is put off, and sometimes it simply never gets done.
But there are some hints and tips to write the perfect will – once you have read this list, you should be able to get your will written, tick it off the to do list, and forget all about it (except to tell people where it is kept, of course).
There are a few different options to pick from when it comes to choosing who writes your will. You can do it yourself, you can engage a solicitor, or you can go to a specialist will writer. All of these options will give you a will, and picking the right one for you can depend on your budget as well as how confident you feel in the will writing process.
For example, a DIY will is great for those on a lower budget, but if you are unsure of exactly what you need to do, it may not be an option that you are comfortable with. You will need to weigh up the pros and cons of each different option and make your own decision.
You will need to choose at least one executor for your will. Think about this carefully before simply picking someone out of thin air. It is a very demanding role, there is a lot to be done, and not everyone will be willing to do it. Ask whoever you are thinking of choosing whether they are happy to take on the role before you name them in your will.
The person you choose will need to be responsible and meticulous – not everyone is suited to being a solicitor.
It’s always a good idea to have ‘back up’ executors written into your will. What would happen if your spouse was named as your executor, but you both died in a car accident? You wouldn’t have a living executor to get the work done. This is just one reason (not wanting to carry out the role is another) why having a ‘spare’ executor is a good idea.
If you have children under 18, it is wise to appoint a guardian or guardians for them. Although your partner or spouse may be living when you write your will, there is no guarantee that they will be when you die and the will needs to come into effect. If you both die together, or your partner dies before you and you don’t update your will, your children could be left with no one to look after them. If this happens, the state will appoint guardians, and they may not be the people you would have chosen yourself.
If you are thinking of setting up a trust (if, for example, any of your beneficiaries are under 18, or are unable to make their own decisions, you will need to do this) then you will need to appoint responsible trustees as well. Make sure you choose someone who understands finances where possible, as this will make it much easier for them when the time comes.
Being specific in your will is the best idea. If you want family heirlooms or items that have specific sentimental value (jewellery often falls into this category) to go to someone then make sure you write that information within your will. Otherwise no one will know. Simply telling someone what you are planning will not be enough.
If you are doing as you should and being specific, make sure that the residual of your estate is also accounted for. If, after your specific legacies have been given out, there is anything left of your estate, you could create a situation when you are in partial intestacy, and the rules of intestacy will need to be taken into account.
Sign Your Will
This is something that those who choose to create a DIY will often forget – in order for it to be valid, it must be signed in front of two independent witnesses. Those witnesses must not be beneficiaries, and neither can they be married to anyone who is a beneficiary.
Store The Will
Storing your will in a safe storage facility is the best idea – it will be protected from damage including fire and water damage. And it won’t be lost, either. The worst thing that you can do after writing the perfect will is to hide it where no one will be able to find it when they need it!