Did you know that 61% of adults in the UK don’t have a will? Perhaps this is unsurprising, given the fact that we are busier than ever, but a will is vital for ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your death, and to avoid disputes between your loved ones. Making a will can seem daunting, but here are 5 easy steps for you to follow…
Step 1 – Value Your Estate
The first step for making a will is to get an idea of what your estate will be worth. This involves drawing up a list of your assets and debts. There are a variety of things that could be assets, including:
- Any property you own
- Savings and investments
- Jewellery and other valuable personal belongings
- Furniture and other household contents
You may also have a pension which pays a lump sum on death, or a life insurance policy – these can be included too.
Debts will include any mortgages, loans, credit cards and overdrafts.
The value of your estate is the difference between your assets and your debts. Remember that this amount can change, for example your property might increase in value whereas your mortgage is paid down. It is important to get your assets valued regularly to make sure it is accurate.
Step 2 – Decide How To Divide Your Estate
Next, you will need to work out how you would like to split your estate. Many people would prefer to leave their entire estate to their partner, or split it equally between their children – but it is important to put a provision in your will about what should happen if they were to die before you. If you want to leave any gifts, these will need to be listed. This includes if you want to leave any money to charity – you will need to list the charity’s full name, address and registered charity number.
Step 3 Choose Your Executors
An executor is the person (or persons) responsible for the distribution of your estate after you have died. You can find out more about the role here. It involves a lot of responsibility, and so many people select a family member or friend as one executor alongside a professional executor – such as a solicitor – who has expertise.
Step 4 – Write Your Will
Lots of institutions offer will-writing services, but it is usually best to get advice from a solicitor. There are many who specialise in wills and probate, and they will have the knowledge to ensure that your will is as clear as possible. This will help to avoid any potential contention between your beneficiaries.
Step 5 – Sign Your Will And Store It Safely
Your will needs to be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses (these shouldn’t be beneficiaries, and it is best for them not to be an executor either). You should then store it somewhere safe – for example, with your solicitor.
Making A Will Today…
If you are ready to make your will, the team at Beeston Shenton are here to help. Our experienced solicitors are on hand to guide you, providing expertise to clients in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire and beyond. Get in touch today!