There comes a time in everyone’s life when you consider writing a Will. This is a good practice in general since it saves your family from disputes and legal obstacles to claim your property after you’re gone. However, what makes a Will complicated is its legal aspect. If you think the law will pave a path and help your family once you pass away without a legal document, think again.
The law is specific, which means you need to be precise. But, since most of us have no experience writing legal documents, it can be challenging to pen our thoughts properly. You may miss crucial details, leave statements to open interpretation, or accidentally assign the exact property to two different people. You should contact with Thomas McKenzie Law firm. So, as you sit down to write your Will, here are some fundamental aspects that you need to consider:
1. Make a plan
A legal document needs structure. So, when you’re writing your Will, it is best to plan how to phrase your statements. You don’t want to leave anything to open interpretation or accidentally assign the same asset to two different people. Therefore, ensure you get your bearings in order, such as the properties you own, investments, bank accounts, etc. Next, start listing the names of people you want each of these material possessions to go to. It will help if you keep reviewing your document for errors.
2. Select an Executor
You need an executor to ensure all possessions get properly distributed to respective beneficiaries. Executors also ensure that all your debts and outstanding dues do not require payment. You should have at least two executors, even though you can have up to 4. However, they should work in unison to avoid conflict. Anyone can become an executor, including a family member above 18. However, if you want to remove any biases altogether, consider going out of the family and hire a professional.
3. Pick someone to write your Will
There are no restrictions on who gets to write your Will. You can do the entire process yourself by following online tutorials or get someone to do it for you. You can also hire a solicitor. They all charge differently; therefore, choose someone who fits your budget. If you have no experience writing Wills, it is always best to consult a professional since this is an essential legal document. You don’t want the court disputing over something as simple as the swimming pool in the backyard if it is considered an independent entity or part of the house.
4. Keep it clear
When you write, use clear statements. A Will is not a test for your intellectual capabilities, so you can go easy on any term that may hold more than one meaning. Your statements should flow and immediately make sense. Solicitors are excellent when it comes to writing ideas. They know how to word what you want to say and leave nothing that could become a matter of legal confusion.
5. Sort out those that depend on you first
A Will is essential for family members dependent on you. For example, if you have children and want to ensure that they still have financial support after you pass, keep aside some money for them. You also may want to think long-term; for instance, naming your children as heirs to everything you possess. If you leave your accounts to your spouse and kids, make the division of wealth clear. You don’t want to leave your children and spouse in a dispute over who gets what.
6. Name all the beneficiaries
If you have an estate and leave it to more than one beneficiary, you may need to explain how they will use it. For example, suppose you give some material possessions in a room to one of the beneficiaries. So it is best to specify who is getting what. You should also mention the percentage of the estate each beneficiary will receive to simplify division. The best way to go about this is to make a list of everyone who is a beneficiary. Then consult a solicitor who will advise you on how the estate needs division, including how it will pass down to successive generations. Finally, suppose you want to donate your possessions or money to charity. In that case, you need to provide their name and address and your registered charity number. This is important because the court needs all the details to avoid any mistakes when the time comes.
7. Prepare for any problem
Human lives are not as linear as a Will. People may pass away or get into an accident that may claim their life sooner than they expect. If a beneficiary cannot claim their right because of unforeseen circumstances, mention who gets it next. In addition, if the property sustains damage or anything gets stolen, identify what the court can do. Think of a will as guidance for both your family and the court. As much as you want your family to benefit from everything you have, you also want them to get something if there is an unfortunate situation.
8. Get information on the inheritance tax
Inheritance tax is the tax that becomes payable as soon as the estate owner dies. The executor needs to ensure that all inheritance tax is paid before the property goes down to the beneficiaries. The executor needs to know the rules well since they are pretty complicated. The last thing the beneficiaries need is a sudden tax upon them that they need to pay. An executor can help your family understand how to navigate through this tax. After all, taxations can get very high, and if they get ignored, they can accumulate with time. And this is not a burden anyone wants to bear.
9. Have a witness
Writing a Will is only step one of the processes. Step two entails signing it in front of at least two witnesses. These people should not be among the beneficiaries or in any way associated with them. They need to see you sign the document without coercion and resistance, so people know you agreed that you did this on your accord.
10. Storing the Will
After you go through the tedious writing process and then sign the Will, you need to store it properly. Safekeeping is essential to avoid incidents such as the Will being stolen, compromised, or destroyed. You can ask a solicitor or an online Will writing service for a storage facility. Some solicitors charge an additional fee for the storage, while others don’t. You can even ask your executor or the bank to keep your Will safe.
Writing a Will can be emotionally challenging, yet it is essential to ensure that the people you leave behind get due share of your wealth. Streamline how your material possessions and assets will go to all beneficiaries. When you begin writing, be clear and concise. You must also address how you expect the property to get divided and what to do in unforeseen situations. Finally, when you are happy with what you have written, you need to sign the document in front of witnesses and ensure it is stored someplace safe.