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A Will allows you to decide who will administer your estate, who will look after your children and what will happen to your assets on your death.
What you need to consider when making a Will
What are your assets and how are they organised?
- do you own land or property? If you do, is it held with anyone else or in your sole name? Is it mortgaged and, if so, is there any life cover in place to repay the borrowing on your death?
- do you own any assets abroad and do you have a Will in that country?
- how are any other assets owned, jointly or in your sole name and how much are they worth?
- do you own a business or agricultural land/property?
Who will be your Executors?
- Executors are the people who deal with the administration of your estate.
- they will collect in information about your assets and any debts and ensure that the assets are distributed in accordance with the terms of your Will.
- an Executor has to be over 18 and of sound mind and can be a beneficiary under the Will. you may wish to consider appointing professional
- Executors if the estate is likely to be complicated.
Who will look after your children?
- you can appoint guardians under your Will.
- if you die and you leave children under the age of 18 the appointed guardians can look after them.
How do you want your estate to be left?
- you can make a simple Will leaving everything to one or more persons in equal shares
- you can leave cash and/or specific bequests with the balance going to one or more individuals with appropriate substitutions in the event of the death of any of the named beneficiaries.
- you can leave the estate according to percentages if you wish one beneficiary to receive more than another.
- you can leave assets in trust should you wish to protect them, e.g. for children from another relationship, for care fees planning purposes, for tax planning purposes.
What about funeral wishes?
- it is helpful to give your Executors guidance at what will be a difficult time.
- you can state whether you wish to be buried or cremated, what type of service you would prefer, where you want to be buried or have your ashes scattered.
Unless your Will is very straightforward it is always sensible to seek the advice of a Solicitor, who will be able to guide you in relation to the various issues you need to consider.