Wills: An Information Sheet
There is a long tradition of Will writing in this country. The main reason for writing wills is to ensure that our assets pass to our chosen beneficiaries and to make sure we can choose who sorts everything out after we’ve gone.
The people who handle your affairs after your death are called executors. We recommend the appointment of more than one person to act as your executors. Preferably they should be younger than you, relatively level-headed and should live or work in your locality. Many people appoint their spouses or partners but if they are of similar age to you it might be prudent to appoint someone else as well. This will ensure that at least one executor is still around to do the job after you have passed away. Some people appoint their solicitors in the knowledge that the solicitors’ practice will still be here no matter what.
The people who inherit from you are called beneficiaries. The choice of beneficiaries should take into account anyone who is financially dependent on you: if you don’t leave enough to dependents, they may well make a successful claim against your estate after you’ve gone. Subject to this, your will should indicate how much of your estate you want to leave to which individuals Please remember that jointly owned property will automatically pass to the surviving owner and will not be distributed in accordance with your Will. For example, a house which is jointly owned will automatically pass to the surviving owner no matter what is in your will. Please ask us about this if you own anything with another person as there are often ways of changing the ownership, particularly changing the deeds of a house or flat.
Parents may wish to appoint guardians of their children in their Wills. It is important not only to choose the right people but also to check with them that they would be happy to take on the job!
We recommend that you instruct a solicitor to draw up your Will: sorting out a home-made will after someone has died usually costs much more than paying a solicitor to produce a proper will in the first place! Remember: what goes in your Will is your choice and we are happy to advise on all related matters including trust schemes for the young, the elderly and the infirm and also tax savings devices.