In this article I answer all the key questions you might have before you decide to get a Will.
I’ll also tell you how to save £25 on your will – bonus!
What Is A Will?
Put simply, a Will is a legal document that tells everyone what you want to happen to your money, possessions and property (collectively known as your ‘estate’), after you die.
You can also use your Will to set out any wishes you may have regarding the care of your children if you were to pass while they were still young.
Who Are Testators, Executors And Beneficiaries?
The person making a Will is known as a ‘testator’, and the person or people the testator has chosen to look after their affairs and make sure their wishes are carried out are the ‘executors’.
Besides the fact that they’d make really cool wrestler’s names, these terms relate to the Will which is called a testamentary document that will be executed in accordance with your wishes.
The people you leave things too in your Will are called your ‘beneficiaries’.
If you don’t leave a Will, your wishes might not be carried out and it could cause extra stress and upset to your family during an already emotional time.
Also, if you want to make your family spend a night in a haunted house before they get a penny of your money and you haven’t got that on record, then your dream will never become a reality.
Should I Have A Will?
In a word, yes.
It’s not just the very wealthy or those who have complicated assets that need a Will; there are many reasons that everyone should have one, no matter how much or how little they might think they have to leave behind.
Reasons such as:
1. You can decide who gets what and how much.
Let’s say you’ve always promised that treasured piece of jewellery to your granddaughter; she knows it, and you know it, but if you haven’t put it in writing then your wish could go unfulfilled.
Often it’s this kind of scenario that leads to family arguments after a loved one has passed; and no one wants that.
If you have a Will that is legally binding on your executors then they have no choice but to follow what it says.
2. It can stop all the arguments.
Despite the fact that it would be lovely to say you have a good relationship with every member of your family, it’s so very often not the case.
Writing a Will means that any estranged relatives won’t be able to get their hands on your assets.
3. It’s important if you have young children.
If you don’t leave a Will and you die when your children are very young, it could be left down to the courts to decide what happens next.
This could be incredibly distressing for both the children and other family members.
4. It speeds things up.
Your loved ones will be able to have access to your assets much quicker and easier if you leave a Will.
What If I Change My Mind Once I’ve Made My Will?
Your Will doesn’t take effect until you die, so up until that point you can make as many changes as often as you like – which is handy if you were to marry/remarry/have another child after writing your Will.
Wills Contain A Lot Of Jargon – What Does It All Mean?
A Will is one of the most important legal documents there is and all of the complicated-sounding phrases and jargon aren’t just for show!
It has to be included for full legal effect so that there is no doubt what is meant when it comes to reading the Will later on.
There’s no need to worry about learning all of the jargon – I used Newlife Wills, they write Wills in Kent, they turned my words and wishes into the proper legal form for me.
More on them at the end of this blog.
Are There Different Types Of Will?
There are, and all with varying degrees of recognition.
A written, witnessed Will is the best, and is probably the type you think of when you hear the word, ‘Will’.
A testamentary Will, once written, is signed in the presence of witnesses and is your best bet when it comes to stopping people challenging your wishes after you die.
This is undoubtedly the most popular type of Will, but at Newlife Wills, they can talk through all the other options with you in order to find the best will to suit you.
Who Can Be My Witnesses When I Make A Will?
You need to have 2 witnesses, both present at the same time, neither of whom are registered as blind.
Witnesses must be at least 18 years old, and completely independent of yourself; so you couldn’t ask your spouse or adult child to be your witness.
Your witnesses don’t have to be independent from each other though, so if you ask a husband and wife or brother and sister to be witnesses, for example, that’s fine.
You can ask your executors to witness your Will so long as they match the criteria and aren’t also beneficiaries.
It’s important that your witnesses aren’t named as beneficiaries in your Will and that they understand that they are witnessing your signature on a legal document.
They don’t need to know what’s in your Will – or even that it is a Will, but you mustn’t let them think it’s something else in case there is a reason that they wouldn’t have signed it if they’d known what it really was – it’s just a legal thing!
What Does A Will Cover?
A Will isn’t dependent on you owning property or having millions in the bank; a Will lets you decide how all of your belongings – including any prized possessions – as well as any money and other assets, are distributed.
If you have any investments or are a business owner your Will can also say who will receive those assets and when.
What if you don’t have any family members who will be left behind, or you would rather your assets went elsewhere?
Well in that case you can use a Will to leave your money to a charity or organisation of your choice instead.
A legally binding Will ensures that these wishes will be carried out.
What Else Do I Need To Know About Making A Will?
As well as using your Will to make sure that your assets go where you want them to after you die, you can also use your Will to set out your wishes in other areas – any specific wishes regarding your funeral or organ donation for example…
and don’t forget that bit about making your relatives spend the night in a haunted house.
Newlife Wills provide Will advice in Kent. I personally used them to arrange my will.
They can help you through the process of estate planning and making a will step-by-step, as well as answering any questions you might have. Going through us will also give you a £25 discount!
Will writing is not part of the Openwork offering and is offered in our own right. Openwork Limited accept no responsibility for this aspect of our business.
Will writing is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.