Family Essentials - Writing a Will
Everyone should have a will so upon your death your financial affairs can be dealt with in line with your wishes, this is exceptionally important if you have a family as the care of your children will need to be addressed as well as your financial matters.
If you do not leave a will, your estate will be divided up following the Administration of Estates Act and the intestacy rules, this is typically to leave your estate to your next of kin such as your spouse. It is also important to note that these rules may change and your estate maybe divided in a way against your wishes. As a result it is imperative that you leave a last will and testament behind, this will simplify any division of assets, ensures that your wishes are being followed and everyone you want to be included, will be, this is not always the case when standard intestacy rules are being followed. These rules are also different across the UK which is worth considering. If you do not have any next of kin your estate will be given to the crown, once again, potentially against your wishes.
The first step to ensuring that your estate is divided up correctly and those you wish to inherit, do is finding out how to start writing your will. Although this can be done on your own, this is an important legal document and seeking legal advice prior to and during the writing of your will should be considered an essential. Such legal services are generally affordable and are available at a fixed fee which is ideal for those which budgetary concerns.
After receiving legal advice you will be fully aware of all of the issues surrounding creating a will and how they may relate to you, your family and any disputes which may arise.
In order to ensure that the wishes stated in your will are followed through you will need to appoint an executor of your estate. This is typically a friend, family member or potentially even your solicitor. Ideally you should appoint more than one executor in case the appointed executor dies before you.
If you are creating a trust in your will you will need to appoint trustees to manage this trust and ensure that all of the powers that are held by the trustee are laid out in order to prevent any disputes. Trusts are typically set up when children or high value estates are involved in the situation and the individual inheriting the estate is currently unable to manage the trust themselves. There are several forms of trusts and requirements regarding this area so if you are looking into setting one up it is important that you are aware of this and legal advice would be recommended.
It is important to keep your will up to date with any important changes in your life, for example you may wish to include new children and grandchildren upon their birth and this would require an amendment to your will. In addition to this is your estate undergoes any changes you should also address these changes these include a new house purchase, acquisition or sale of an asset and so on.
Josie is a family law blogger based in the UK.