Making a Will is a way of organising your money, property and possessions when you die, these are sometimes called your ‘estate’. You can also use a Will to decide who should look after your children should you have any under 18. When creating a will, think about how much you have to leave and who you would like to receive it. You may want to create a will to allow you to make these decisions yourself and to help your loved ones feel less worried about the future.
South Wales Monuments have put together a simple guide to help you create a will which will give you peace of mind knowing that all of your assets are going to people you love. If you would like any information on any of our monuments or headstones please contact us today on 02920 887 188.
Calculate The Value Of Your Estate.
It is important that you get an idea of what your estate is worth, you can do this by drawing up a list of your assets and debts. The assets that usually make up an estate include: Your home, any other properties you own (this could be different if you own a holiday home), savings in the bank, national savings, pension funds, investments, motor vehicles, jewellery, other personal belongings, furniture and the contents of your home.
It is important to remember to include your debts which may include a mortgage, a credit card balance, a bank overdraft, loans and equity release. Remember to get assets valued regularly because the value of them can change as time goes on.
Decide Who You Would Like To Benefit From Your Estate
Next, you should make a list of who you would like to benefit from your estate. It will probably take you just a few minutes to tick this step off. You may include; friends, family, your partner or spouse, your children or even a charity.
Decide How You Would Like To Split Your Assets
You should then make sure that you will is very clear about what you would like to happen to your estate. You should keep in mind who you would like to benefit from your will, whether you would like to give specific gifts to different people, where the residue of the estate is to go and what you would like to happen to your estate should your beneficiaries pass away before you. There are a few ways you can do this.
- Pecuniary bequest – ‘I leave £4000 to my grandson.’ – This means you leave a lump sum of money.
- ‘Specific bequest – ‘I leave my jewellery to my daughter.’ – This means you would like to leave a specific item that you own.
- Residuary bequest – ‘I leave half of the estate to my husband.’ – This means that you are leaving a percentage of whatever your estate is worth after any debts.
- Reversionary bequest – ‘I leave my estate to my wife if she is alive after me but if she is not I would like to pass it to my son.’ – You are able to specify what happens if the person your leave your estate to dies.
If your affairs are simple and you would like to leave everything to one person you may only use a simple residuary benefit, however, if your will is slightly more complicated you may need to use a few.
Choose Who You Would Like To Sort Out Your Will
Executors are people who deal with distributing your estate after you have passed away. Being an executor can involve a lot of hard work and responsibility, so think carefully about the people you appoint carefully.
Draw up the will
You are able to do this a number of different ways:
- Lawyers: It’s usually best to get advice from a lawyer who can draw up your will for you, they can make sure that it contains the correct information and that it is valid. This will help you to avoid problems in the future. It is particularly important to use a lawyer if your will isn’t straight forward.
- A will writing service: Charges for a will writing service can vary and you can approach legal firms to get a quote. If you do use a will writing service, make sure that it is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority or belongs to the Institute of Professional Will Writers or the Society of Will Writers. These organisations operate a code of practice and require their members to have professional insurance.
- Writing it yourself: You are also able to write the will yourself, but you have to make sure you use particular wording to make it legal and valid.
Sign your will
You must then sign your will in the presence of an independent witness for it to be valid. For a will to be valid it must be in writing and signed by you and witnessed by two people. You must have the mental capacity to make the will and understand the outcome and you must have signed it voluntarily.
Making Updates To The Will
You should review your will every five years and after any major changes to your life such as a new grandchild or moving home. If you are making a minor change to your will, you can add a supplement, known as a codicil. This must again be signed and witnessed in the same way as the original will.
South Wales Monuments have gathered this information to make the process as easy for you as we can and this is the same as our memorial and headstone process. Every single one of our memorials is made to order and handcrafted by our skilled masons. We always work closely with our clients, so that everything is as easy as it possibly can be. If you would like any information on our services contact us today.
Sarah Wirth is the content writer for South Wales Monuments and updates our blog regularly with helpful advice and new information.