Whilst you can make a DIY Will, it is best to use a professional Will drafter such as a solicitor to ensure that it is drafted correctly as the consequences of getting this wrong can be expensive.
Firstly, decide who you wish to appoint as executors to handle your estate on death. If you have children under 18 years, decide who you also want as their guardians. Then itemise any specific bequests that you wish to make, noting down what they are, amount of money or percentage if applicable and the names and addresses of those that you wish to benefit. This can also include a charity.
Then decide who you wish to benefit from your remaining estate such as your loved ones, family or friends. Consider what you would like to happen if any of your beneficiaries were to die before you and who you would like to benefit in their absence.
You can work out the value of your estate by noting down and totting up the value of your money, investments, life assurance not in trust, property and possessions. Then deduct any liabilities you have such as mortgages, credit cards and car loans etc. This will give you the net value of your estate.
Most Wills are straight forward and inexpensive to set up in comparison to the costs and consequences of not having one.
Most people appoint their respective spouse or partner, however it is important to consider that they could predecease you and therefore appointing an extra executor would be beneficial.
The Government will step in and decide who will benefit from your estate through the laws of intestacy. This may mean that people could benefit that you may not have wished to.
The law of intestacy doesn’t recognise partnerships; this would mean your partner would not be able to benefit from your estate under these rules.
It’s even more important that you have a Will in place if you have children under the age of 18. Through a Will, you can appoint legal guardians to look after and be responsible for your children until they become adults.
There is no set time period, however a good way to update your Will is to do this at any major life event or anytime you wish to change how and who you want to benefit from your estate .
It is best to store your Will with a solicitor. However, if you are planning on keeping it at home, it is best to store this in a fire-proof safe and register it with the National Will Register.
You will need to consider who you wish to appoint as your attorneys. This can be anyone over the age of 18 years such as relatives, friends, husband or wife. You can also appoint a professional such as a solicitor. When appointing attorneys, you should give consideration as to how well they look after their own affairs and if you would trust them to make decisions in your best interests.
It is good practice to appoint at least two people and to give some thought as to whether you wish for them make decisions separately or together.
You can apply and register for an LPA via the www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/make-lasting-power .
Please note LPA’s are only applicable in England and Wales. You can find out more about making an Enduring Power of Attorney in N.Ireland or Power of Attorney in Scotland via the following websites:
Wills and LPAs are not regulated by the FCA. The details relating to the laws of England & Wales are correct at the time of publication, and legislation may change. Fairstone Group Limited and associated companies are not legal advisers therefore specialist legal advice may be required before establishing Wills and LPAs under any jurisdiction applicable to place of residence.