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5 things to consider before getting a will

It is very important to have a will in place to ensure that your property and possessions are divided in the way that you want them to when you die. If you have dependents and want to ensure they receive the money and possessions that you have intended for them, making a will with a will solicitor is the only way to legally guarantee this.

Before you get to the stage of making a will, you should consider doing these five things:

Write down your assets and their value

Put together a comprehensive list of all of your assets and an approximate value for each item. This includes savings, property, vehicles and any other valuable items such as jewellery.

It will help to do some research to get a more accurate valuation for your assets such as getting jewellery valued at a jeweller, having your house valued or checking the current value of your car if you were to sell it. The value of assets can go up and down, so this is just a starting point.

As well as your more valuable assets, you should also write down any belongings that have sentimental value.

Make a list of your beneficiaries

Your beneficiaries are the people or organisations that you want to leave your assets to. This could include:

  • Your spouse/partner
  • Children
  • Other family members
  • Friends
  • Charities or other organisations

Go through your assets and appoint beneficiaries

Now you have the lists of assets and beneficiaries, decide who you want to leave what to. Make sure that you are specific with details to avoid any confusion e.g. if you are leaving certain jewellery items to different people, describe each item in enough detail.

There are different types of legacy that you can leave, such as a pecuniary bequest, specific bequest, residuary bequest and reversionary bequest. Your will expert will be able to discuss these in detail and help you decide which one(s) to choose.

Appoint a guardian for minor children

If you have children under the age of 18 then it is a good idea to appoint a guardian in the event that you and their other parent should die before they reach 18.

When you are deciding who to appoint, you should consider:

  • Which adult has the closest/best relationship with your children
  • Who you think could provide stable, continuous care
  • Whether the adult has similar morals to yourself and will always act in the best interests of your children

You will need to approach the proposed guardian before you include their appointment in your will.

Choose your Executor

The Executor of your will is the person that has responsibility for ensuring your wishes are carried out as detailed in your will. Choosing an Executor can be difficult because you won’t want to put additional stress on family members and those that are not used to dealing with financial matters may struggle.

Hill and Company solicitors can act as executors and are always happy to be appointed as executors in your will. This can be on their own as sole executors or with another, say the spouse as joint executors. This ensures that the wishes of the deceased and the terms of the will are carried out correctly and legally and that all the formalities and legalities of probate are dealt with correctly to ensure all parties obtain what they are entitled to under the will and that any issues are dealt with professionally.

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