A Will is a legally binding document, which states how your money, property and possessions should be divided after you die.
Why you should have a Will?
Having a valid, up to date Will is essential, regardless of how much money you have, any property or what possessions you own.
An up to date Will will ensure your possessions are divided as per your wishes.
It will help document any change of circumstances and as a result, any previous Wills will become invalid.
If you die without leaving a Will (Intestate), you run the real risk that your money, property and possessions will be divided as per the current law and rules and not as per your wishes.
If you have children under 18 years of age, a Will could determine your wishes if either you or your partner or both parents die.
If you are cohabiting, or not married or not in a civil partnership, your partner will not be able to inherit from you or vice versa without a valid Will.
If you get married, remarried or enter into a civil partnership, your previous Will will be invalid, so you should get a new Will to reflect your wishes should you still want to leave something to them.
What should be included in a Will?
How much money do you have in bank accounts, current and savings
What property do you own either sole or in joint names,
What stocks/shares or other investments do you have
What pensions do you have
Who do you want to benefit from your Will – they are called beneficiaries and what you would want to happen if any of the beneficiaries die before you?
What possessions do you own and who is to benefit from any specific items i.e., watches, jewellery antiques or any household items.
Who would look after any children under the age of 18 if either you or your partner or both parents die?
The names of the executor/s who will carry out your wishes as per your Will.
Executors are appointed by you to carry out your wishes as per your will. They will have several responsibilities so it is important you appoint someone who can carry them out competently.
Executors apply for probate by accumulating all the assets to determine the value of the estate.
They pay for funeral costs, deal with any debts from the estate, pay any taxes and deal with all the associated paperwork to register your death and to distribute the ‘gifts’ as per your Will.
Who can be an executor?
You can appoint anyone you wish – Friends or family. It would be good to ask them if they are happy to be the executor.
Solicitors – however, there is usually a charge for this and the solicitor would have to agree to this.
How many executors can you have?
You can appoint as many executors as you like but you must appoint at least 1. It is however advisable to appoint more than 1 in case a beneficiary dies before you. Usually, there are at least 2 executors.
In the case of no executor being available, the Official Solicitor will act.
Requirements of a legal and valid Will
You should state that the Will revokes all other Wills.
The Will-maker should be over 18 years of age
Need to state that the will is made voluntarily and without any duress
Needs to be made by someone who is of sound mind and who fully understands the contents and how the Will will be dived and who the beneficiaries are.
The will needs to be In writing
Needs to be signed by the maker of the will in the presence of 2 witnesses, over the age of 18, who will countersign the Will in your presence.
Should be dated, although not essential, but it will help if there are more than 1 version.
Call Cheadle Solicitors on 0161 464 4323 for your free initial consultation.