October is Will month so we thought it would be helpful to put together a useful guide for anyone thinking about making a Will, as we hear all too often that sometimes people just don’t know where to start. This can then become such an overwhelming task, that people put off making a Will at all and we all know how important it is to have a will in place!
At Tyto Law we are always happy to guide our clients through the process of making a Will. We certainly don’t expect you to arrive at your appointment with us knowing exactly what you want to do with your assets (although for some people this is the case).
For the majority of people, the process of making a Will requires some thought on your behalf with some prompts from ourselves from a legal perspective and eventually, when you are completely happy with everything, your Will is written for you.
So, what can you do in preparation for making your will.
1. Make a list of your assets
This could include property, savings, pensions, investments, insurances, and personal possessions. Don’t forget to also list anything you have outstanding sums of money on (eg. Do you own your car outright or is it being paid for on finance?)
2. Note down items that have particular sentimental value
You may own jewellery, art work, clothing or family heirlooms that you want to list here. These items aren’t necessarily valuable – it could be any item that is special to you. It is important to give some thought about who you would like to inherit these items.
3. Who would you like to be your Executors?
An Executor is named in your Will as being responsible for handling your affairs upon your death. You can name up to four people as Executors. You can also appoint professionals, such as solicitors, into this role.
4. Who would you like to be the beneficiaries of your estate?
In simple terms, you need to think about who you want to leave your assets and possessions to? How you want to divide your assets and possessions up? You can do this however you’d like – leaving the whole estate to one person, or dividing it into percentages between people. Or you can leave set amounts to different people and then split the remainder how you see fit.
5. Do you have children under the age of 18?
If you have children under the age of 18 then you need to decide who you’d like to be their guardian should their parent(s) not survive before the child’s 18th birthday.
6. Do you own any pets?
You might have listed your pets under your items of sentimental value, but if not you might want to think about what would happen to your pets should you die before them? Your Will is your chance to be clear about this and also to consider whether you leave money for their care.
7. Remember your digital legacy?
We highlighted this matter in an email a few weeks ago – your digital legacy. A digital legacy is all the information about you that remains in the digital world after your death – your social media accounts, photos and gaming profiles for example. What do you want to happen to these? What about access to your phone or computer?
8. Do you have any funeral wishes?
Making a Will often gives people the prompt to think about their funeral wishes. You may already have a funeral plan in place – if so, would your Executors know where to find it? If not, do you have any particular wishes you’d like your Executors to be aware of?
Hopefully these prompts are a helpful place for you to start when considering making your Will. But remember here at Tyto Law we will guide you through this process and explain all available options that you have. Please contact Ollie and the team at Tyto Law on 01724 642 842 or by email on [email protected].