Everything You Need To Know About Wills In The UK

words Al Woods

Writing a will and managing your estate is something that will be important for not just you, but your whole family too. If you’re not sure how to get started, then this article will be the perfect jumping point.

Writing a will

How To Write A Will

The first step will be, you guessed it, writing the will. The best way to start with this is to get an idea of the worth of your estate. This will be done by drawing up a list of your assets and debts. This will include any properties that you own, as well as savings and pension funds.

Deciding How To Divide Your Estate

When you want to write your will, you will then have to decide how to divide up your estate. This will be through asset management, where you can arrange for them to be sold, or handed out. A lot of the time, people will decide to sell their house upon their death so that it’s easier for the money to be distributed, rather than one person getting all of the property.

Executors And Lasting Powers Of Attorneys

An executor is someone who is named in the will who sorts out the estate after the death of the will-maker. They will have to work to distribute the will according to the wishes mentioned. Someone who is a lasting power of attorney is someone who helps you to make the decisions based on your will. It is generally a good idea for these two individuals to be different, as to not cause any bias or confusion.

Getting Your Will Written

After some time has passed and you know what you’re doing, you will need to then focus on getting your will written. You will have a few different ways to make this happen. One of the most effective ways in which you can do this is with a lawyer or a professional will writer. Sometimes, these can be the same, but it’s possible to find lawyers who specialise in wills and probate or find will writers who have expert legal knowledge.

Alternatively, you can work with a charity to take advantage of free will drafting services if you qualify, or to encourage charitable legacies made within the will. Some banks also offer these legal services, where you can contact a local branch to arrange an appointment or find out more.

Of course, you can decide to go through this process alone without a legal expert, but that could lead to you making costly mistakes due to not having the legal knowledge of how to write it correctly. If you plan to go through this route, you will need to prove its validity.

That’s why you should leave it to the experts. You still have full control over what you want from your will and estate plan, just that those in the know will make it a reality. Organisations such as elm-online.co.uk specialise in a range of online will services, from writing to probates via video calls. Working with an experienced team helps you get the will done quicker and more efficiently.

Signing The Will

Once you have accounted for everything and everyone, the will is complete. All you need to do now is sign it. However, due to legal matters, you will need to ensure that you have someone in your presence, that is independent of the legal matters, to witness it. Once they’ve witnessed it, then the will is considered valid and official.

Storing The Will

Now that you have a signed will, you will want to make sure it is taken care of. The last thing you want is for the will to go missing after you die, as even if everyone knew what was on it, it won’t be legal.

You will have a few options as to where you want to store the will. Typically, this will be with a solicitor or bank, as they have the means to safely store. However, you do also have the choice and option to store it somewhere at home. If you do that, you should place it somewhere that it’s safe, such as an actual safe.

Of course, you should store it somewhere that others, such as your executor, know where to find it. Otherwise, it may as well have never existed if there are no copies to work with or other legal evidence. When storing your will, make sure it is in pristine condition and avoid the use of paperclips or staples. That’s because if any leave marks or detach, it could look like the will has been altered after your death, which could cause complications even if it’s fine.

Will Validity

As mentioned previously, you will need to ensure that the will is valid for it to be legal and followed after death. The first step will be to have it in writing and signed in front of two people who are independent of the situation

As well as that, you will need to have the mental capacity to not only create the will but to understand it and the effect it will have. You will also need to have made the will out of your own accord, and not been forced into it or influenced in any way.

If this is not your first will, then the start of this will should inform everyone that this one revokes the others. If you indeed have your old wills, then they should be destroyed to avoid any legal confusion.

What You Need To Know About Illness And Dementia

If you have an illness that makes it difficult for you to sign the will, then you can get others to do it on your behalf. You will need to give permission and be in the right mindset to do so, and be in the room when it happens.

It becomes more difficult to make a will happen if you have a serious illness or a mental illness such as dementia. It’s not impossible, however, as you can get someone with the mental capacity to validate the will, but your solicitor will need to be aware, along with a medical statement so that you’re aware of what’s happening.

Updating The Will

Generally speaking, it will be a good idea for you to review your will from time to time. For example, every five years it’s likely that things will have changed in some way, such as new grandchildren born or moving house. So, if you have any major change in your life, it will be worth your time to reassess the situation.

Not Having A Will

If you don’t have a will, then you will die as an intestate. This is worrying as it means your estate could end up going to people that you didn’t plan for. There are special rules for how your estate will be distributed along with this status. It will depend on if you are married, have children or if any of them are deceased.

In most cases, your spouse will inherit all of the personal possessions, with at least £250,000 of the estate along with half of the rest. Any children that you have will be entitled to this other half. If you don’t have any children or a partner, then the estate will fall to any parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews that you have.

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