Everyone should have an official Last Will and Testament. It is the only way to ensure that your wishes are respected, rather than the court deciding on who gets what based on a few outdated parameters. Your children, for example, would not get anything from your estate if you have a surviving spouse or civil partner.
Having a will means that your wishes on how your estate is shared are honoured. Complicated estates and wills, however, should always be done with the advice of The Inheritance Experts. If your estate (the total value of all your assets) is small and your will straightforward, you can write your own will. To do that, you will want to follow this guide.
Evaluate Your Estate
The first step is to evaluate your estate. This means determining the total value of all you have, both in terms of liquidated assets and in terms of personal belongings. You can bequeath your beneficiaries items like furniture or jewellery, or you can give your beneficiaries a monetary amount.
When evaluating your estate, it is crucial to estimate your debt. All debts and taxes must be paid before the beneficiaries can get access to your account.
Set Out Who You Want in Your Will
The next step is to set out who you want in your will. Include details like who should take care of your children if they are under the age of 18, and who you intend to name executor. Executors are the ones who carry out your will. You can name up to four.
You should also make exceptions. For example, if all your named beneficiaries were to die before you, you can then donate your estate to a selected charity.
Explain Who Gets What
Set out who gets what. Ideally, this should be done with your debts and inheritance tax already in consideration.
What if You Want to Update Your Will?
Official updates to a will are known as codicils. If the changes you want to make are complicated, however, it is best to create a new will. Generally speaking, you should update or at least check over your will every five or so years. If a significant change in your life has happened (like a grandchild), then update as soon as possible.
Ensure Your Will Is Legal and Valid
You will also want to make sure your will is legal and valid. Generally speaking, it must be done in sound mind, when you are over 18, and be done in the presence of two witnesses who are not named in your will. Your witnesses, or their spouses, should not be beneficiaries.
When You Should Get Expert Advice
If your estate is complicated, is it best to contact The Inheritance Experts. Not only will this make your Last Will and Testament more explicit, but it also helps deal with complicated estates (perhaps you own a summer property in another country).
Store Your Will
You will want to pay either The Inheritance Experts or another official entity to safely and professionally store your will.