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For most people the prospect of making a Will is daunting. However the consequences of not attending to it can be far reaching and lead to trauma for your loved ones at a most difficult time. You are never too young to make a Will. The process is relatively straightforward and your Solicitor will guide you step by step.
Make a list of your assets and liabilities
In preparation for your meeting with your Solicitor it is a very useful exercise to make a list of your assets and liabilities. This will help focus you in making decisions about what it is you want to leave to your loves ones. It is also a useful aide memoire for your Solicitor to have at a later stage and can be used to guide your Executors and your Solicitor in administering your estate.
Make a list of potential executors
It is not necessary for your Executor to have any particular qualification or expertise. Our advice to you is to choose an Executor whom you trust to carry out the instructions in your will and that you believe will have a good relationship with your beneficiaries. A minimum of one executor is required though it is recommended to appoint two.
Guardians for children under 18
If you have children under the 18 you should appoint guardians to look after them in the event of your death while they are still minors. Only one guardian is necessary but you may decide that it is prudent to have two. It is advisable to speak to your prospective guardians and get agreement from them that they are willing to act as guardians.
Seek tax advice
It is important to be aware of the tax implications that your Will will have for your loved ones. In recent years the trend has been for tax free thresholds to be reduced so it is good idea to discuss with your Solicitor and / or tax advisor the most tax efficient way to pass on your money or assets to family and friends.
Store the will in a safe place
When you have completed your will make arrangements for the safe storeage of your Will. Ideally it is best left with your Solicitor who will keep it in a safe. It is also important for your executors or next of kin to know that you have made a Will and how it can be accessed but there is no obligation on you to tell anyone about the contents of the Will.
Consider do you need an Enduring Power of Attorney?
Don’t forget that your Will “speaks” from the date of death, in other words it will have no relevance until you die. In many instances it is recommended that a person who is making their Will also creates an Enduring Power of Attorney, also known as a living will. If at some point you become incapable of managing your own affairs through illness or injury your assets can be managed and dealt with by your Attorney on your behalf. Your Attorney is a person of your choosing and can be a family member or friend.
Review your Will
One of the certainties in life is that we never know what is around the next corner! As the years pass your circumstances may change and it is important to keep up with those changes in terms of reviewing your will and amending it to suit your needs.
For further information please contact Claire McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific advice should always be taken in given situations.