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New Year, New Will?

Solicitor Courtney L’homme explains why making or updating your Will should be a resolution for 2019..

As we open our calendars into a new year the human instinct is to set ourselves goals as to what we should achieve this year. Whilst probably not at the top of your “to do list” at first glance, we ask:- Have you reviewed your Will recently or do you even have a Will?

Starting the new year talking about death is probably the last thing you want to do; however we want you to consider this from a different perspective. Everyone has experienced, or will experience, grief in their lifetime and when you are in that emotional stage in your life, your priority will be to uphold your loved one’s wishes correctly and they would want to be able to do the same for you. So we ask that you view a Will as making sure your loved ones know what you wanted to happen when you close your eyes for the final time and to make it as easy for them as possible to distribute your estate as you wished.

Every adult should have a Will. Many people think they do not have enough money or assets to warrant writing a Will but this is not the case. According to recent surveys approximately two thirds of the British public do not have a Will in place. The consequences of them dying without a Will may not be a concern for some people; however the rules on intestacy in the UK ensure only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit. This means if you are a cohabitee, stepchild or even a close family friend you will receive nothing under the Intestacy Rules.

Death can often be a trigger for family feuds and even claims brought against the estate of a deceased person. Ensuring your wishes are clear and well justified can reduce this risk occurring.

Many people fear coming to see a solicitor about writing a Will and therefore we want to give you a brief outline of the questions we would ask to make sure you find the process as easy as possible.

1. Who would you like your executors to be?

Executors are the person or people who are in charge of valuing your estate, paying any tax due from your estate and then distributing your estate in accordance with your wishes. They can be beneficiaries or they can receive nothing from the Will. You can also appoint professional executors which is something we often advise if you wish to put a trust in your Will.

2. Do you have minor children? If so, who would you like to appoint as their Guardian(s)?

Whilst this is often the most difficult question to ask parents, it is a very important one. In the event of a child’s parents or primary carers passing away you would always want to ensure they were going to be looked after both physically and financially and your Will is the place to make such an appointment. You can appoint more than one Guardian and it is vital that such a person or people are consulted before you make them a Guardian in your Will…. READ FULL ARTICLE