Should I Make a Will?
A Will is essential as it gives you the freedom of appointing your choice of executor and allows you to choose how to distribute your estate. If you do not have a Will your assets will be distributed under a rigid formula regardless of what you might wish and a person will be appointed to administer your estate regardless of your personal wishes.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that names the people you want to receive the things you own, your property and possessions, after you die. These people are known as your beneficiaries. Your property and possessions include everything you own: your home, land, car, money in bank accounts, insurance policies, shares, jewellery, pictures, furniture, and so on. Making a Will is the only way you can ensure your assets will be distributed in the way you want after you die.
What is a “Valid” Will?
A valid Will is one accepted by a court and put into effect by a grant of probate. To be valid your Will must be:-
In writing – handwritten, typed or printed;
Signed – ideally your signature should be at the end of the Will;
Witnessed – two witnesses must be present when you sign your Will or acknowledge it and they, too, must sign in your presence, but they do not have to be present together at the time they sign.
If your Will is not made in this manner it may not be enforceable.
How Can I Make Sure my Wishes Are Carried Out?
It is important that you appoint in your Will a person you trust as the executor to handle your affairs after you die. If you wish, you can name more than one person to act as executor. You can choose anyone to be your executor – your spouse, relative, a friend, your Solicitor – but you should first ask them if they are prepared to take on the task and confirm with them that they have been appointed.
Can I Alter my Will if I Change my Mind?
Yes. You are free to alter your Will at any time. If your circumstances change in any way, you can and should alter your Will.
If the alterations are minor, you can make a codicil (this is a separate document in which you change a provision in your Will) but it is usually better to make an entirely new Will unless the change is a very simple one. A codicil must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, in the same way as when you make your Will.
What if I Marry or Divorce?
If you made a Will before you married, it will automatically be revoked when you marry, unless it was made with a particular marriage in mind, or expressly stated that it was made in contemplation of marriage. So if you marry, it is more than likely you will need to make a new Will.
Any gift or appointment (eg. as an executor or guardian) in favour of a former spouse in your Will is automatically revoked when a divorce decree becomes absolute or a decree of nullity is made. It is in your best interest to make a new Will or codicil if you are divorced.
Can I Leave my Assets to Anyone I Please?
Yes, but subject to your making adequate provision for such persons such as your spouse and children, including ex-nuptial children. If you do not, they could challenge your Will.
Where Should I Keep my Will?
Keep your Will in a safe place. We recommend you leave your Will in our safe deed custody packets for which we make no charge.You should make a copy of your Will and note on it where the original is kept.
It is advisable to tell your executor where your Will is kept.
Can anyone see my Will before I Die?
No. The Will is private and confidential to you. We do not show your will or divulge any inform regarding your Will or your affairs unless we are authorised in writing by you to do so
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