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What points do you need to consider when making your will?

January 25, 2016

Clients who are making a will for the very first time often tell us that they had no idea what kind of matters they would need to consider when making their will.  That's completely understandable! Here's a list of a few of the things you will need to have thought about before one of our consultants comes to see you :

  • Executors : You will need to appoint up to four people to be named as Executors in your will.  Executors are responsible for obtaining probate after your death and ensuring that the wishes stated in your will are carried out.  They will ensure that any debts are paid off, any specific gifts are distributed in accordance with your wishes, any business matters are dealt with and that all beneficiaries receive what is due to them under your will. Executors are usually able to claim for any time and expenses they incur, as a result of carrying out the role, from your Estate.  It is advisable to appoint more than one Executor as the role can sometimes be quite demanding, often at an already emotional time. Executors can also be beneficiaries.
  • Trustees : Trustees are responsible for looking after any money or possessions placed in Trust (for example, for your children).  Trustees are often, but not always, the same people as the Executors.
  • Guardians : You should give careful thought to who you would like to appoint as guardian/s for your children in the event of your death.  Guardianship only comes into play if both people with parental responsibility have died. You may specify wishes for the upbringing of your children (i.e. that you would like them to remain living in the local area, or would like them to maintain close contact with certain family members).
  • Distributing your assets : have a think about how you would like the majority of your assets to be distributed. Also, think about whether there are any items of value or sentimentality (for example) that you would like to leave to a specific friend or family member.
  • Funeral wishes : These days it is usual to state in your will whether you would like to be buried or cremated after your death.  You can leave it at that, or you can include more details about what kind of 'farewell' you would like.

The important thing is, don't worry if you are still feeling unsure about some of these matters when one of our consultant comes to see you.  It is important to be entirely happy with the contents of your will and we understand that there are difficult decisions to be made.

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