Scarily, according to Which?, one in three people die without having created a Will. Making a Will is one of the most serious commitments anyone can engage in, and it is important to have access to all the correct information to ensure that no mistakes are made. It has the potential to be a hugely complex process, although it does not have to be.
This article will provide six key things anyone making a Will needs to know, in order to make the process as easy as possible.
1. Is a witness necessary?
Absolutely, two witnesses are required otherwise the Will is likely to be considered invalid within England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The witnesses do not require any particular skills, they simply have to observe your signature.
2. Employing a professional?
Ensure that whoever you employ to aid you in Will-writing is capable of doing so. There are a number of different professionals that can do this, although it is usually a solicitor. Be sure to inquire about their experience.
3. Can I change my Will after it is made?
It is important to review your Will every few years, and it is possible to change it to better reflect your current circumstances. This can be done by codicil – placing an addendum on the first Will – or by the creation of a new Will, which revokes the previous one.
4. Who will be responsible for carrying out my Will?
This person is known as an executor. They will ensure that all loose ends are tied up properly, be it taxes, closing accounts and distributing property in your Will. This person need not be a financial genius, however they must be honest and trustworthy. Usually, a relative is chosen for this task.
5. Can I make my own will?
This is feasible, but it is crucial to remember how important a Will is. The law can get very complex in this area.
6. What will happen to my children?
This is possibly the most important issue that people need to address in a Will. What you need to do is name a guardian for your children if they are under 18. This can become very complex and it is a difficult decision to make.
Finally, a useful resource by Saga explains the reasons for a Will and it simply highlights that if you don’t have a Will “the government decides how your Estate is distributed with no regard for personal relationships or your wishes”.
Essentially, it is only by making a properly drafted Will can you ensure that your wishes are carried out.