Planning for death is something none of us likes to do. Inspite of that, the question of who should get our money and possessions always plagues us. In normal practice, immediate heirs inherit their parents’ estate when they pass away. But, what if you want to leave some money to your household help or somebody else? Or simply, how much does every family member get? As you have no control over this after you die, it’s good to undertake will writing when you’re hale and hearty. To help with basics, we answer a few questions people ask:
- Why do I need a will?
- Who can carry out my wishes?
- Is it valid by law?
- How do I make one?
Keep reading to learn more about will writing. It’ll be worth your while.
Why Do I Need A Will?
Probably nobody would dispute the importance of a will. It’s this document that allows you to maintain control over your precious possessions long after you’ve gone. Almost every UK citizen engages in will writing at a point of time in their lives. You may like to read about the four main reasons why you need a will.
- When you die, your family has to cope with your loss. At such a time, property disputes may cause additional tension. A will can prevent this with an arrangement for the distribution of your money.
- According to law, your estate goes to your kin or next in line. Even then, you should write a will to communicate your wishes to the law.
- Without a will, your family is likely to pay a hefty Inheritance Tax on the money and property you leave them.
- If you want to leave money to somebody who’s not a blood relation like an ex-spouse or step-children, a will can help you do that.
Who Will Carry Out My Wishes?
Your will tells two main things:
- Who should your money, property and possessions go to
- Who will carry out the instructions i.e. an executor
Such instructions may also pertain to what type of last rites you want such as burial or cremation. Any executor will do their best to carry out your wishes, so long as they don’t mess with the law. However, in some cases, it might not be possible.
Is It Valid By Law?
Will writing is a simple task and doesn’t require much knowledge of legal terms. Neither does it need some special sort of paper. For a will to be a valid one, you should keep in mind the following things.
- It should say how your estate will be divided after you die.
- It should have been made when you’re in a sound state of mind. Also, a will made by pressure from any party is considered as invalid.
- Such will should specify a date and signatures of the will-maker and two adults acting as independent witnesses. Bear in mind that a witness can’t be a beneficiary i.e. a person to whom you’re leaving your estate.
How Do I Make One?
Will writing is an excellent way of ensuring that your property goes to those whom you intend it to. If your family is small, it’s a simple and straightforward process. But, if you’re in a complicated situation, for example, have a divorced spouse and children from another marriage, you’ll need careful planning. Putting it off or avoiding will writing altogether isn’t a solution. If you fail to do it, the law will take it into their hands.
There are two simple steps of will writing.
- Make a plan:
Talk to your family and discuss who should get what. They might have some suggestions which you hadn’t earlier thought of.
- Get your will prepared:
You can hire a will writing service to prepare your will. If you can’t afford this, you can simply state your wishes on a sheet of plain paper and sign on it.
A simple will can cost between £144 and £240.
If you’re divorced and have children, you might need a complex will. It can cost you anywhere from £150 to £300.
For a situation that involves trusts and overseas properties, or if you want tax planning advice, you can go for a specialist will costing a minimum of £500.
You could also buy a template document in stationary shops for as small an amount as £10.