Making a Will and keeping it up to date is very important – it puts you in control. You can use the process below to make sure your Will reflects your wishes. Please note that this guide is based on the process in the UK. Whatever country you are in, it is important to get advice from a lawyer to ensure that your wishes are properly reflected in your Will.
1. Assess your estate
Make a list of all your significant possessions. For example, your house, car, savings and insurance, and other items of value.
2. Decide who you would like to benefit
You can choose to share your estate between anyone you like – your spouse, family or friends. You could also leave a legacy to a charity or good cause, such as the Findhorn Foundation, after your family and friends have all been properly provided for.
3. Decide what sorts of gift to leave
You can leave any kind of gift: a share of your estate (residuary), an amount of money (pecuniary) or specific items (a gift in kind). Find out more about some of the different types of legacy. Your lawyer will also be able to advise you on the benefits of different types of legacy.
4. Choose your executors
You should select between one and four people who will be able and willing to ensure the wishes within your Will are carried out. You can choose your bank, your solicitor, or willing friends or relatives.
5. Make a list of any other questions you may want to ask your solicitor
6. Arrange to see your lawyer to make your Will
This shouldn’t take long – but it’s important to involve a legal professional to draw it up for you. If all the legal formalities are not correctly followed, your Will could be declared invalid.
7. Ensure that your Will is correctly drawn up
When you are happy with the contents of your Will, make sure that it is executed and witnessed properly. Your lawyer can advise you on this.
8. Keep your Will up to date
You can update your Will at any time to reflect changes in your circumstances – such as the sale of your house, or the death of friends or loved ones. Your lawyer can advise you on the best way to change your Will – either by re-writing it or by adding a codicil.
For more information on how to create a Will, you may find the following web sites helpful:
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