Whether you have been thinking about writing one and not got around to it yet, or you’ve already written one but would like to update it.
Many people put off making a Will as there is always something more pressing to do. But without a valid Will in place the law decides who will receive your assets, and not you. Your husband/wife and children may not be properly provided for and, if you are not married, your partner may receive nothing at all. Also without a valid Will you cannot leave a charitable legacy.
How a Will operates
A Will appoints Executors to carry out your instructions in the Will and distribute the estate. After your death your Executors collect your Will and then apply to obtain a grant of Probate if necessary and, once all liabilities have been paid in full, they will distribute your estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the instructions you have set out in your Will. Pecuniary (money) legacies are paid out first after all liabilities are paid, and then the residue of the estate is distributed and, if applicable, property is sold or transferred.
The difference between an Executor and an Attorney
Executors carry out your instructions in your Will after your death. An Attorney however is someone you appoint, using a Power of Attorney, during your lifetime, to manage your affairs, should you become mentally or physically unable to do so. An Attorney’s authority will cease on death. If you do not have a valid Power of Attorney in place and you lose mental capacity, then your loved ones may need to apply for a Deputyship Order which can be a very expensive and time consuming process.
Information you will need when you are thinking about writing your will
- Your name and address
- Your spouse/partner’s name and address
- Children’s full names and addresses
- Legal guardian(s) full names and addresses
- Executor’s full names and addresses
- Any funeral instructions
- Home and any other property
- Household effects (e.g. antiques)
- Items of particular value (e.g. jewellery)
- Savings in banks & building societies
- Shares/investments/premium bonds etc.
- Insurance policies
- Less any Mortgage/loans/credit cards etc.