What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that sets out how the assets in your estate, including all property and investments, will be distributed on your death.
Why should I make a Will?
In the absence of a will the law of intestacy will apply which only makes provision for particular individuals to benefit from your estate on your death. Other important family members or friends may be excluded if you do not make a will. A will may also provide who will act as guardian for your children if you were to pass away before your children reach the age of 18. A will also provides the opportunity for you to structure the division of your assets so that a reduced amount of inheritance tax is paid on your death.
What should be included in a Will?
A will should include who you wish to appoint as your executors; the individuals who will be responsible for distributing your assets to your beneficiaries on your death. A burial or cremation clause should also be considered which sets out your wishes for the disposal of your body on your death. Any particular legacies which would include amounts of money or personal items that you wish to leave to individuals should be included in your will. Where your remaining estate is to pass should also be set out in you will and what is to happen if those individuals who are to benefit have died before you.
How to make a Will
A will should be drawn up after consultation with a solicitor giving careful consideration to those who you wish to benefit and to those who could reasonably expect to benefit. A solicitor will prepare a draft of the document which sets out your instructions and wishes before this is signed by you in the presence of two witnesses.
Can I change my Will?
Your will may be changed or revoked at any time prior to your death provided you still have capacity to make a will.
Where do I keep my Will?
Your will may be retained by you at home or, alternatively, it can be retained by the solicitor for safekeeping until your death.
What if I don’t make a Will?
The law of intestacy will determine how your assets are distributed if you have not made a will. This will provide for particular family members including your spouse, children and other extended family if your spouse and children have died before you.
Do I need a solicitor or lawyer to make a Will?
A will can be made by anyone without assistance from a solicitor provided the correct formalities have been complied with. This includes making a will at a time that you have capacity, are not under any undue influence and have the will signed by you in the presence of two witnesses. Those witnesses must not be beneficiaries under the will. We would always recommend that legal advice is sought to ensure that a will is properly drafted, signed and unlikely to be challenged.
How can the Private Client team at Mills Selig help?
The private client team at Mills Selig can provide advice on making a will together with advice on potential challenges that could be made to your will on death. We will also be able to provide guidance and advice on how to protect your assets that you wish to leave under your will giving consideration to long term care and inheritance tax.
Mills Selig’s Private Client team will take the time to understand your personal needs before putting measures in place to protect your future.
The team also advise clients on setting up personal trusts, succession planning and inheritance tax planning.
Editorial by https://millsselig.com/team/fiona-mcfall/ @ Mills Selig
For further information on all of the above, do not hesitate to contact the Private Client Team at Mills Selig
Learn more: ‘Mills Selig’s Private Client Team reflect on a year of growth and success’
- GOV-UK – Making a Will
- Citizen’s Advice – Making a Will
- The Law Society of Northern Ireland – Making a Will (PDF Download)
Fiona McFall, Partner & Head of Private Client @ Mills Selig
Fiona brings a wealth of experience of matters including wills, trusts, estate planning and administration of estates. She also advises clients on planning for long-term care and creating bespoke structures to protect personal and family wealth.
In addition, Fiona has considerable experience of residential conveyancing, and acts for both private individuals and developers on property-related matters.
T: 028 9044 5418
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