Making a Will sits nicely alongside private wealth management and Estate And IHT Planning – especially if you want full say of what happens to your assets beyond the grave. Writing a Will doesn’t have to be depressing. Instead, it should be viewed as a way to ensure your loved ones are protected once you’re gone.
So, with this in mind, here’s a quick checklist for making a Will.
- Make a list of beneficiaries
Firstly, it’s a good idea to list the people you want included in your Will. You don’t need to decide who gets what at this stage. But it’s a good idea to note down all of the friends, relatives and loved ones you might want to financially protect or gift when you die.
- Make a list of your assets
You should also make a list of significant assets you want to leave to loved ones. This can include houses, vehicles, family businesses, expensive/sentimental jewellery, valuable paintings, heirlooms and such like. Be sure to take stock of anything important to you as you don’t want to leave off anything dear to you that may cause family resentment, arguments and controversy down the line. Valuing your estate is also a good place to start as it’ll help you work out how to divide what you own between loved ones. Don’t forget to factor in any debts that might affect your worth including a mortgage, credit card balance, bank overdraft, loans, equity release and more.
Note that if you own property with another person or people as beneficial joint tenants, your share could be automatically passed to the surviving owner/s. It’s a good idea to speak to legal professionals to find out the specifics of your case.
- Choose an Executor
An Executor is the person who will handle your estate and the provisions in your Will. You choose this person within the Will itself and they must be up for task. Make sure that the person is willing to take on such a responsibility, especially if there’s likely to be some kind of family disappointment or conflict. Always have a second Executor in mind, just in case your first choice isn’t up to the task.
- Think about guardians
In your Will, it’s a good idea to name a legal guardian for children under the age of 18 should something happen to both parents. Think carefully about who you’d want to look after your dependants and why. During this thought process, you can also think about financial protection for your children. Arranging an annual allowance or setting aside money for an education are two options that will make life much easier for those you leave behind.
- Think about a charitable donation
If you decide to leave a donation to a charity close to your heart, make sure you include the charity’s full name, address and registered charity number. Incorrect information may mean your chosen charity doesn’t receive the gift.
Making a Will shouldn’t be a complicated or upsetting process. It’s better to be organised as if you die without leaving a Will, specific ‘rules of intestacy’ could mean your final wishes are not carried out.