What You Should Include When Making Your Will | Curtis Parkinson
What You Should Include In Your Will

What You Should Include When Making Your Will

Understandably, since the Covid pandemic, more people are considering making their Wills. But knowing what to include in your Will is not always easy. There are several important decisions to make. And it would be best if you made sure the wording of your Will reflects precisely what you want. Unambiguously.

Our short ‘checklist’ below is designed to help you with the process.

Beneficiaries – Who to Leave What To?

If you leave your estate to more than one person, you’ll need to think carefully about how you’d like your assets to be distributed. It might seem unnecessary to draw up a list. But recent births, deaths, marriages, divorces, etc, may influence who you’d like to include in your Will. Don’t worry; specifying the details at this stage is unnecessary. Concentrate on who’s involved and make sure you haven’t forgotten anyone.

If you want to exclude someone from your Will, it’s rarely simple. Take specialist legal advice to mitigate a challenge down the line.

Assets – Everything You Own

List what you want to leave to family, friends and charity. Start with the obvious: property, vehicles, savings, investments, pensions and shareholdings. If you own a business, you must consider how to pass your interests on.

Next, work your way down a list of smaller, more personal items such as jewellery and heirlooms. And don’t forget about digital assets.

Some assets can’t be left in a Will or are better dealt with in a trust or other way. However, focus on listing all your investments so you know what your estate entails. Some types of jointly owned property will not pass under your Will. So, make sure you know ‘how’ you own your property.

Liabilities – Everything You Owe

It’s also essential to list all of your debts, including (not limited to) your mortgage, car loan/lease, credit cards, personal and student loans and outstanding taxes.

Naturally, your debts won’t be left to a beneficiary, but it’s essential to estimate your overall financial status so you can plan accordingly. This process includes funeral expenses, probate costs, and inheritance tax (IHT). Debts can become the responsibility of the estate, so many opt for life insurance to cover after-death expenses.

Executor(s) – Choose Carefully

As the person who carries out your wishes and distributes your estate after you die, your Executor(s) should be someone you trust. We’d recommend choosing two, but you can have up to four. You can select a beneficiary, but they must be at least 18. It’s also good to name an alternate executor in case your first choice can’t act.

Guardians – Who Should Look After Your Children?

If you have young children, your Will is the place to name their guardian(s). Think about how you want to provide for your children. For example, you may leave an individual in charge of the family home (left to the children in your Will) until they reach a certain age. Also, consider naming backup guardians should your first choice be unavailable.

Inheritance Tax

The current IHT threshold is £325,000. So, if the total value of your estate (minus debts/loans) is more, it may be subject to IHT. Usually, married couples and civil partners can transfer their unused allowance to each other. This means that on the surviving partner’s death, the estate may be able to claim both allowances, currently £650,000. Additional tax relief, the Residence Nil Rate Band, may also apply. Depending on your circumstances, lifetime gifts and other provisions can help to minimise IHT. This is a complex area, so we’d advise you to take specialist advice.

Lasting Powers of Attorney – Worthwhile?

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are as important as making a Will, arguably more. If you lose capacity without an LPA, your family can’t just gain control of your money, even if it is to pay for your care. They would need to apply to Court, which is often time-consuming and costly.

Our Advice

If you need more advice about making a Will or LPA, contact us. We’re here to help.

Please note that all views, comments or opinions expressed are for information only and do not constitute and should not be interpreted as being comprehensive or as giving legal advice. No one should seek to rely or act upon, or refrain from acting upon, the views, comments or opinions expressed herein without first obtaining specialist, professional or independent advice. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, Curtis Parkinson cannot be held liable for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies.

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