Six reasons why you should write a Will

By writing a will;

1) You can name the personal representatives i.e. the person(s) taking care of things when you pass away

2) You can appoint the same personal representative as a trustee

3) Your personal representative can act from the moment of death and before probate is granted

4) You can appoint guardians for minor children

5) The powers you wish the personal representatives & trustees to have can be drafted to extend further than the normal statutory powers

6) Your estate can be distributed as you would have wanted

Other than above another reason for making a will is to avoid the rules of intestacy that apply in the absence of a valid will. This however is not discussed here.

What is a will?

A will is simply a written direction of instructions allowing a person to expresses their requirements for distributing any assets, known as property they have after their death. Under the Wills Act 1837 a will must be in writing, signed by the testator (person making the will) and witnessed by two persons present who are not named to benefit in the will.

Typical things included in a person’s will are;

How they would like to be buried and whether they wish to donate any organs

Who they want to appoint as personal representatives, trustees and guardians (discussed above)

Details of any specific gifts of personal, freehold or leasehold property that are to be left to particular persons and whether they wish them to be received free of inheritance tax (known as specific gifts)

Details of any cash gifts they wish to leave (known as pecuniary gifts) e.g. to grand children

How they want the residue of their estate to be distributed once all gifts are made (known as the residue)

Once a will is written it is not necessarily set in stone. A formal document known as a codicil can be drafted to be read alongside the will or the original will can be revoked by executing a new will that includes an express revocation of all former wills.

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