So youíve finally made up your mind about making a Will?
Thatís great! Youíve already made a good start with this wise decision.
And as they say, well begun is half done!
Now, you only need to take care of a few critical things to get the process going. Here are some considerations to bear in mind while youíre making your Will.
1. Take Inventory Of Your Assets
Personal property and financial assets might be your priority when you think of leaving behind a legacy for your loved ones. These include your house property, savings and investments.
Make sure you include all your savings accounts, fixed deposits, mutual funds, share investments and insurance policies in the list. Remember, to include all personal items like jewellery, antiques, and books that youíd like to bequeath.
Donít leave out digital assets like cryptocurrencies or social media, and personal memories you might have saved online.
You should have the assets valued so you have an idea about how to divide them.
If youíre not sure where to begin, you can always take professional advice for making your Last Will & Testament from online Will-writing specialists.
2. Make A List Of Beneficiaries
Choosing beneficiaries may be easy for you. You might have the names of your relatives and family members at your fingertips.
But you may not be able to foresee some complex issues that may crop up later on. For instance, if your spouse remarries, would you intend his/her children to disinherit from your property? You need to think critically about such issues and make your Will as comprehensive as possible.
When you make your Will, youíre not obligated to limit it to your family members only, although thatís the common practice. You can leave a gift to a trusted friend, a caretaker, or a charitable organisation.
3. Appointing The Executor
The executor will play a very important role when it comes to administering your Estate and distributing your assets among the beneficiaries. The executor also acts as a Trustee for managing the assets inherited by beneficiaries who are under 18 years.
Be sure to choose a person whom you can trust to take up the responsibility of fulfilling your final wishes.
Some people are under the wrong impression that a beneficiary of the Will cannot be named as the executor. But thatís not the case. You can choose your spouse or your older children as the executor, even though they have a share in the Estate.
4. Planning For Foreign Assets
Including foreign assets in your Will is not that easy. Based on the jurisdiction of the assets, some local rules and regulations may govern the conditions of inheritance. Some rules may not allow you to leave the property to your preferred beneficiaries.
If you wish to override these rules, you may need to consult a lawyer from that particular country.
5. Caring For Your Pets
A pet is like family, and you might want to treat your pet as a beneficiary in your Will. Well, unfortunately, you canít do so in the UK.
Although you canít leave money or assets as gifts for your pets, you have the option of creating a trust in your Will for looking after the welfare of your pet. You can also nominate a caretaker for your pet in the Will and leave money or gifts in the name of the caretaker.
Of course, you need to put some thought into selecting the right person who would love to care for your pet after youíre gone.
6. Business Decisions
When it comes to the family business, your Last Will and Testament could majorly affect how the business is managed after youíre gone.
You need to decide which family member is capable enough to fill your shoes and keep the business going.
You need to be fair in the judgement because the future of your business and family income both are at stake.
7. Planning For Inheritance Tax
If youíre not mindful about how youíre distributing the assets under your Will, a lot of their value may be lost to inheritance tax.
If your Estate is valued above £325,000, its value above this threshold will be subject to an inheritance tax at the rate of 40%.
Of course, you can plan the distribution of your Estate valued above this threshold to avoid this tax or get the applicable tax rate reduced to 36%.
You can consult a professional to understand more about inheritance tax planning.
8. Reflecting On Other Last Wishes
Besides the instructions for the administration of your finances, you may want to include some other expectations in your Will.
You may want to leave some instructions about how your funeral is to be conducted.
You should also leave a power of attorney, to determine how your affairs are to be managed should you become incapacitated during your lifetime.
9. Executing the Will
Once you have your mind made up about how your Estate needs to be handled, you need to focus on the actual task of making the Will.
Your Last Will & Testament should be professionally drafted. You can choose to make it online or at the lawyerís office as you prefer.
The Will should be duly signed and executed by you in the presence of two competent witnesses to ensure that it is legally binding.
If you donít take care of these fundamentals, your Will may be considered invalid in the eyes of law.
10. Storing Your Will
Your final task after making the Will should be to determine a safe place to store it.
Choose a place or custody where the document can remain unharmed and still be accessible when the time comes.
A lost Will is as good as no Will.
You could keep the Will at home in a safe, or leave it with your bank or your lawyer.
You need to handle the task of making your Will with a clear head and purposeful action. The points discussed above will give a good idea about what goes into making your Will and put you on a solid footing.
That said, no one can dispute the fact that there may be many complexities involved. For the right decisions and your peace of mind, you should take professional advice on the matter.