Making Your Will
Still just thinking about making your Will ?
Making a Will is perhaps a daunting thought – perhaps even a depressing one. But it is so very important to your family’s future. So please don’t put off or be put off. We will guide you through it – and you’ll feel so much better when it’s done and dusted!
Pretty much everyone has an Estate: it’s your money and other assets belonging to you. Whether large or small, your Estate will need to be attended to when you pass on.
If you die without leaving a Will, your Estate will be distributed in the arbitrary way the law dictates. But you can ensure this doesn’t happen. All you need to do is to leave a set of written instructions. Your instructions about your financial legacy to your loved ones – your Will.
Making a Will can be straightforward, or it can be complicated. It depends on what your family circumstances, what your Estate comprises and what you are seeking to achieve with it.
Perhaps you can tell us in a few words what your instructions are. For example, “Everything to my partner if s/he outlives me. Everything split equally among our children if my partner goes before me” . But wouldn’t something like that just happen automatically without going to the bother of making a Will? Well, no. In many cases, it wouldn’t. So by making a Will you are saving your loved ones uncertainty, delay, expense and additional heartache when you die.
Key Decisions when Making a Will
One of the most important decisions facing you when creating your Will is who to appoint as your Executors.
Your Executors’ job is to make sure your instructions in your Will are carried out. In practice, it is usually your solicitors who handle the paperwork. But your Executors oversee their work, check their accounting and ensure your Estate is properly distributed. So it is important that you pick as your Executor someone you know well and fully trust. Picking two or more people to act jointly as Executors is an option. Perhaps consider that if you’re concerned that the responsibility could be a burden if left to one person alone.
To try to future proof your Will it is best to think about appointing someone of your own or a younger generation as your Executor. Even then, your chosen Executor’s subsequent ill health or death can’t be ruled out. So you should name substitute Executors, who will take on the task if needed
It is always a good idea to have a word with the person you’d like to appoint as your Executor or substitute – just to make sure they would be willing to do this for you.
Your Beneficiaries are the people who will inherit your Estate, per your Will. Your Executor may well be your Beneficiary too. For example, if your spouse or partner is your Beneficiary, it often makes sense to put them in charge of winding up your Estate as well.
There is a whole other discussion to be had where there are children to consider. This is truly where the benefits of making a Will can be seen most clearly. Protecting and investing an inheritance for a child in well thought out instructions in your Will will give you real peace of mind.
Guardians for your Children
Speaking of children, your Will is also the ideal place to address a heart wrenching scenario. Namely, the death of both their parents while your children are still under 16 years old. You can – and it is important that you should – state in your Will who you appoint as your children’s Guardians, should that situation arise.
Your Funeral Instructions
Some people like to have their funeral wishes down in black and white in their Will. Others prefer not to. It is entirely up to you. But either way, the important thing is that your loved ones know your wishes. Not something likely to come up in conversation and not, perhaps, an easy topic to bring up. But do, please, have that conversation with your loved ones – both as to their and your wishes. It could save a lot of heartache in the future
Review your Will
When drawing up your Will, we’ll seek to future proof it as much as possible. But it is still important to regularly review your Will to check it has not been overtaken by family events and changes in your life. We would suggest that you review your Will at least every three years. We are pleased to offer you our FREE WILL REVIEW service, which you can arrange HERE.
Tempted to Do it Yourself?
Don’t get us started! Will kits from newsagents, will packs from charities, grow your own Wills online. Half the time these things aren’t even appropriate to Scots law. Why take the risk of getting wrong something as important as your Will?
Three Steps to Create Your Will
Step 1: Meet with us
The first step is to get in contact. Arrange an appointment to meet with one of our solicitors or to discuss the matter over the phone. We’ll answer your questions and take your instructions for the Will. This will enable us to create a Draft Will for you.
Step 2: Review your draft copy
Having created a draft of your Will, we’ll ask you to have a look and ensure you are happy with it. We’ll go through with you anything you’re unsure of or are thinking about changing.
Step 3: Sign and store your Will
We’ve reviewed your draft Will together. You’re happy that it accurately reflects your wishes. So now we’ll prepare your Will in its final form for your signature. We’ll ensure it is properly and fully signed and witnessed. And there you have it. Done and dusted! Then, if you wish, we can keep your Will for you, securely in our safe. Its a free service we’re happy to offer our clients. We will of course provide copies for your own records at home.
Updating your Will
Wills should be checked regularly to ensure they still accurately reflect your final wishes. After a period of time, or after a significant event in your life, the current version of your Will may no longer make sense, or it may omit people you would wish to be included. You may have moved house or had an addition to the family, your children may have married, or a loved one may have unexpectedly passed away. These are all events that should make you think about the suitability of your current Will.
We can advise on the suitability of your current Will, matched with your changing circumstances. If you feel a review of your Will may be necessary please get in contact with us and we can guide you on the best course of action to take.