Sponsored post: What Should you Know About Writing a Will?

A will is an essential requirement to ensure a person’s property and possessions are divided in the way that they wish among your friends, relatives and charities after they are gone.

Without a will, the law will decide how an estate is divided, and in most cases this will result in blanket provisions, especially loved ones missing out and, on occasion, more inheritance tax being due.

With only three in ten people holding a will, the government sees an annual windfall of inheritance tax. In 2010, this figure was £53m (though this was lower than 2009, when it topped a whopping £73m).

Do you write the will yourself?
While it is possible to author your will yourself, it is legal document and will contain legal language that may not be clear to a layperson. Organisations like Citizens Advice are able to advise individuals on writing their will to ensure that it is legally interpreted in the intended fashion – though the help of a solicitor may be invaluable in ensuring that your wishes are translated into the correct legal language.

Though much has been done to improve the levels of legalese required in the writing of a will through recent legal precedents, they still contain many arcane references resulting in documents that may not contain the message that you intend.

Protect family relationships
In a society where family structures are increasingly complex, the results of death “intestate” can lead to familial division and financial hardship.

Not writing a will can lead to infighting and disintegration of family bonds. Worse still, those that need financial support the most may be left without it.

Protect those who need it
One of the most important aspects to making a will is to decide who’ll benefit from it, and what will happen to any children under 18. An executor must be appointed – and it’s their job it is to take care of your estate in the event of your death and carry out the wishes you have set down in your will.

The will must also describe what will happen if some of your listed beneficiaries die before you.

Legal considerations
For a will to be legally valid it must have been made voluntarily by a person of sound mind, over the age of 18. The will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the will.

Who carries out your wishes?
An executer, as previously mentioned, is a person or company tasked in a will to carry out the wishes of the deceased. This can be a time-consuming task as the executor takes on the role for life. This means he or she will have to deal with any claims that arise in the future.

Further complexity arises from the fact that up to four executors can be appointed where there are disagreements over the splitting of the estate.

In order to legally fulfill their obligations, the executor must meet a host of obligations. These include notifying friends and family of the death, obtaining a copy of the death certificate and registering the death. For help with registering a death visit Co-op Funeralcare.

The executor must obtain a grant from the probate registry to become the “personal representative” of the estate. This gives them the rights to take control of the estate’s assets, pay bills and debts and distribute what is left to the beneficiaries.

January 7, 2013 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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