This article looks at why you should make a will and the benefits of working with a legal professional. We also look at what happens when a will is contested and the issues that need to be considered when writing a Will.
What Is A Will?
A Will is a legal document detailing how your possessions should be distributed after your death. In other words, a Will is a document setting out your wishes or directions for family and friends as to how you want them to deal with your assets after your death.
A Will is a personal matter. It is up to you to decide if you want to discuss the contents of your Will with family members. We often recommend it, it may overcome difficulties later if people who benefit [beneficiaries] know your wishes in advance.
It is advisable to inform anyone who you appoint as Executor, Guardians or Trustee in your Will.
You may choose the same people to act as Guardians, Trustees and Executors.
Top Tips for Making A Will
- First and foremost, make a Will – for the sake of an hour or so with your Solicitor – give yourself the peace of mind of knowing you have left instructions for your loved ones.
- If you know what you want why delay? – do it today.
- Once you have your Will made, make sure to review it after any major life events and at least every five years.
Why You Should Make A Will
Everyone should make a Will. There are many important reasons:
Why Is It So Important?
Many people underestimate the importance of making a Will or having an Enduring Power of Attorney.
Having these put in place can make thing much easier for your loved ones.
Would you go away for a few months without leaving your keys with a neighbour or your children with a child minder?
Why would you not plan for your future care or not look after your family when you are no longer around to do it.
If you don’t plan it, it won’t happen. There is one certainty – we can’t last forever!
Should You Do Anything Else With Your Will?
As well making a Will, you should also consider other legal mechanisms to plan for your future, such as :
- Enduring Power of Attorney – Living Wills – for future care
- Nursing Home Support Scheme review
- Advanced Care Directive – for future health decisions
- Co-Decision Making Agreement – to provide help with decisions.
Why You Should Use A Solicitor To Draft A Will?
There is nothing to say that you have to use a Solicitor to make a Will but it is advisable. A poorly drafted Will can be worse than having no Will at all. Wills are subject to very strict rules and this is for a very good reason – to prevent fraud.
The law is very strict, for example: –
- A beneficiary should not witness a Will.
- Witnesses must witness you signing your Will.
- A gift should clearly identify the person benefiting.
Videos: Making A Will
When should a Will be made or changed?
- As they say, there is no time like the present to do things
What Is A Will & How Do They Work?
- A Will is a legal document detailing how your possessions should be divided after your death.
- The person making a Will is called a Testator.
- A Testator may change a Will at any time.
- A Will must be signed and witnessed by two people, otherwise it is not valid.
- It should be kept safely. In most cases you leave the original Will with your solicitor for safekeeping.
- It is advisable to tell the Executor where the original Will is kept.
- A Will only takes effect after the death of the Testator.
Can You Sell An Asset After Putting It In A Will?
The fact that you have made a Will does not prevent you from dealing with your property after the Will is made.
So, for example, you make a Will leaving all the money in a particular bank account to your daughter. At a later stage you decide you need that money and are concerned that it could not be spent because it had been left in the Will to your daughter.
This is not the case – you are entitled to do what you want with the money during your lifetime. The same applies for any other property be it a car, a house or shares.
Can A Will Be Challenged?
If you are married or have a Civil Partner, you cannot exclude them in your Will. They are entitled to, what is called, a ‘legal right share’.
- A spouse/civil partner who has been excluded from a Will is entitled to half the estate if there are no children and one-third of the estate if there are children. This share takes priority over all other terms in a Will.
There are a number of other situations where a Will can be challenged:
- Uncertainly in the contents of the Will
- Lack of capacity of the Testator
- Undue influence or Duress of the Testator
- Lack of legal formality
- Lack of proper provision for children
- A failed promise by the Testator
Podcast: Why A Will Is Important
We can assist you in preparing your Will. Our expert team has many years of experience in the area. Call us on 052 61 24344 to make an appointment or email: [email protected]