Making a Will
A WILL IS A TOOL THAT ALLOWS YOU TO PASS YOUR PROPERTY, MONEY AND POSSESSIONS TO OTHER PEOPLE AFTER YOUR DEATH.
The only certain way to ensure that your spouse, partner, relative or other person(s) inherit what you want them to inherit is to make a Will. A Will is arguably one of the most important documents you will ever sign.
This is a brief guide to making a Will.
WHAT CAN BE INCLUDED IN A WILL?
- Appointment of those people you want to act as Executors
- These are the people who would carry out your wishes and see to matters after your death
- Details of who is to inherit your money, savings, house and other assets
- The age infant beneficiaries will receive their inheritance e.g. 18, 21, 25 can be specified
- Assets can be protected. Provision can be made when it is inappropriate to make an outright gift, to prevent a beneficiary from receiving assets absolutely. These protective provisions can be used if a beneficiary is in the process of a divorce, is suffering financial problems (e.g. bankruptcy) or there is the possibility of the cost of Local Authority care. This also applies if the beneficiary is receiving or is likely to receive means-tested benefits
- The appointment of a legal guardian to care for the interests of minor children
- Personal items such as jewellery, furniture or family heirlooms can be passed on in a Will
- You can benefit good causes by leaving a legacy or share of your estate, free of Inheritance Tax, to charity. Money left in Wills is an important source of funding for many charities
- Provision for partners and other dependents
- You can specify funeral arrangements and say whether your body is to be buried or cremated or if you wish, your body be donated for medical research
WHY MAKE A WILL?
- If you die without leaving a Will it is known as dying intestate. Under the laws of intestacy, there is a strict "pecking order" to determine who gets what.
- When the intestacy provisions apply it can mean:
- Your spouse does not inherit all of your estate
- Children may inherit at a very young age
- Stepchildren, who you may want to inherit, are excluded
- Administration of the estate could be longer and more expensive
- A partner may not receive anything at all
- The consequence of dying intestate (i.e. without having a Will) can be complicated and expensive. Making a Will need not be expensive.
- It is usually advisable to consult a solicitor about making a Will. A Will made by a solicitor will be legally binding. Homemade Wills or Wills made by an unqualified draftsman should be treated with caution. Badly drafted Wills drawn up without proper advice can cause more problems than having no Will at all. If you have assets it is not worth taking a chance!
TMJ Legal Services
TMJ Legal Services has been helping individuals and businesses since 1986. We offer a range of advice and services.