Wills – What Are They?
Wills – the full name is Last Will and Testament – are a legal document. They allow you to decide what happens to your belongings – your ‘estate’ – after you have passed away. If you don’t make one, or it can not be found, you will have died intestate. It is then up to the government to decide who inherits from you.
There are many types of Wills – including mutual wills, mirror wills and living wills. The one that is most suitable for you, is entirely dependent upon your own personal circumstances.
A will is used to distribute your assets according to your wishes. You will be able to decide who inherits what from you, from things like any property you may own, to more personal items such as jewellery or family heirlooms. You will also be able to decide if you want to leave any cash gifts for people too, or if you want to make any donations to a charity.
In your Will, you will be choose someone to be your Executor. An executor is the person who will be in charge of your estate once you have passed away. This can be someone close to you, such as your husband or wife, your children (if they are over eighteen) or even a close family friend. You can also choose a professional to be one of your executors, for example the Society of Will Writers.
The executors role is a big responsibility and it is best to check that your chosen executors would be willing to accept it. Their job includes distributing your property according to your wishes, informing companies of your death, such as your bank, employer, DVLA, insurance and pensions, and processing claims with your creditors.
If you die leaving children under 18 and haven’t made a Will then the courts will decide who looks after your children. In your Will you can appoint guardians that will be legally responsible for your children after your death.
It is possible to add a Trust fund to your Will, these have numerous benefits. This is discussed in more detail in the Trust fund section of our website.
It is in this part that you will be able to decide if you want to be buried or cremated, or you may wish to leave your body to medical science. You may also wish to consider a Funeral Plan where everything is paid for and decided in advance, those you leave behind then only have to make a phone call.
Once you have written your Will, you will need to think about where you will store it. If you store it yourself, you will need to keep it safe where it can be easily found. You could also choose to store it safely at a storage facility. Many banks no longer offer this service and those that do typically charge about £10/month or £120/year. We are able to offer this service through the Society of Will Writers for just £15/YEAR for a single person and £25/year for a couple.
A will is a living document and should be treated as such. You shouldn’t do it once and then tuck it away in a drawer never to be looked at again. We recommend that you review and update your Will at least every 3-5 years. You ma need to update it sooner if you move house, get married/divorced, have children, lose a family member or friend or even if there is a change in your personal finances.
Wellingborough Wills can help you to make our wishes known and secure a future for your family and loved ones. Simply complete the form below and we will be in touch.