Drafting a will is a critical step in managing your estate and ensuring your wishes are honoured after you pass away. It’s not just about distributing your assets; it’s about making your intentions clear and legally binding. There are so many things to consider when making a will, and it’s essential if you are looking for maximum control over your assets after death. If you are currently updating or creating a will, our family law experts have created 5 essential things to consider.

1. Inventory your assets

One of the first things to consider when making a will is to take stock of your assets. This includes tangible items such as:

  • Property
  • Vehicles
  • Jewellery 
  • Other sentimental personal belongings

As well as intangible assets like bank accounts, stocks, and pensions. 

Knowing what you own is essential for effectively distributing your estate. Consider the value of these assets, not just in financial terms but also in sentimental value, as this can influence how you choose to allocate them.

2. Choose your beneficiaries wisely

Deciding who will inherit your assets is perhaps the most personal aspect of creating a will. Beneficiaries can include family members, friends, and charities. It’s important to be very clear about who gets what to prevent any potential disputes among your relatives or friends. Consider the needs and circumstances of each beneficiary; for instance, a trust might be a better option for minors or those who may not manage a lump sum wisely.

3. Appoint an Executor

The executor of your will is responsible for carrying out your wishes as outlined in the document. This role involves managing your estate, settling debts, and distributing assets among your beneficiaries. Choose someone you trust implicitly, who is organised and capable of handling these duties. Another thing to consider when making a will is to also appoint a secondary executor in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to fulfil the role.

4. Consider Legal Requirements

Wills must adhere to certain legal standards to be valid. Typically, wills need to be written, signed, and witnessed by individuals not named as beneficiaries. Ensuring your will is legally compliant not only validates your wishes but also helps prevent it from being contested.

Your wills and trusts solicitor will ensure your will is legally valid, avoiding the situation where after your death your will is found to be void. In the UK, a will could be affected, or even become void if:

  • The will was made in another country 
  • Divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership has taken place
  • The testator’s signature is forged or they misrepresent its contents
  • There’s a lack of legal formalities e.g. signatures and witnesses 

We’d highly recommend using a solicitor to make a will, as they are complex documents that must be stored for likely decades before they’re used. Wills and Probate experts, like Labrums Solicitors, can ensure your will meets all of the legal requirements in the UK, and that the will is written properly, to give you peace of mind when you pass. 

5. Review and Update Regularly

Life is full of changes, and your will should reflect this. Major life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or the acquisition of significant assets are all good reasons to update your will. Even if no significant changes occur, it’s wise to review your will periodically to ensure it still aligns with your current wishes and circumstances. This will also make the process of probate a lot less stressful for your beneficiaries.

Making a will is a significant step in estate planning, one that requires careful consideration and planning. By taking inventory of your assets, choosing your beneficiaries wisely, appointing a reliable executor, understanding legal requirements, and keeping your will updated, you can ensure that your estate is managed according to your wishes. Remember, the purpose of a will is not just to distribute your assets but to provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones. 

Need advice on your will? 

Labrums has a dedicated team of skilled solicitors in St Albans who are experts in the field of wills and trusts, offering a clear and cost-effective service for wills. This includes comprehensive guidance and assistance in both drafting and updating your will.

To speak to our team about your will, please contact us today.

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