What do I need to consider before making a Will?

December 20, 2015

You would be wrong if you thought, ‘oh writing a Will is something you do when you get old’!

If you own your home, have shares, inherited property, any other assets or have children there are lots of reasons to make a Will.

You’ll need two witnesses to make it legal, but as long as you’re over 18 and of a sound mind then you are able to make a Will. But, what do you need to include in your Will?

We’ve put together a list of things to consider before making a Will.

Assets you own

Before starting your Will you need to make a list of all the assets that you own. Obviously, this list can vary dramatically from person to person, but listing everything of value can make the process easier if the worst should happen to you.

Main items to include are houses, land, vehicles, investments, shares, antiques, and cash, but you may also have expensive jewellery or expert equipment such as a professional camera.

Guardians for your children

If you have children under the age of 18 then you might want to make a Will so you can appoint guardians for your children.

If you fail to appoint guardians but both parents die then the courts will decide who will look after your children. Although, the people chosen may not be the people you would want to look after your children.

You need to think carefully before appointing a guardian in a Will, it’s a lot of responsibility for another person to undertake. They’ll be taking care of your children every day, deciding their education, health and general upbringing.

Appointing an Executor

An executor is a person who is responsible for handling your affairs after your death.

You’ll need to name an executor in your Will – you can appoint up to four people. It’s important to think carefully about this as it’s a lot of work and includes dealing with the paperwork, paying any debts, gathering all the assets of your estate and distributing the remainder of your estate according to your Will.

Plus, if you’ve set up a Trust fund then the executor will hold these assets ‘in trust’ for a beneficiary. In this case, it might be worth appointing a solicitor as an executor (alongside members of your family) to look after the trust fund.

Creating a Trust

Trusts are often used to hold assets for children until they are old enough to receive them.
A trust can also be used to protect the family home from being sold in order to pay for residential care.

You will need a solicitor to set up a trust and explain how a trust can work for you and your personal circumstances.

There are different types of trust designed to meet different kinds of needs. The type of trust you use will depend on who the beneficiaries are, what the assets are, and how and when you want the assets to be distributed.

You will need to appoint a trustee to look after your trust, you can choose between one and four people.

Inheritance Tax

Inheritance Tax is paid if a person’s estate (their property, money and possessions) is worth more than £325,000 when they die. This is called the Inheritance Tax threshold.

The rate of Inheritance Tax is 40% on anything above the threshold. The rate may be reduced by 10% or more if the estate is left to charity.

By organising your finances and Will accordingly your solicitor may be able to explain how you can minimise the amount of Inheritance Tax that will be payable on your estate after your death.

Who benefits

Before writing your Will you’ll need to decide who you want to benefit from any assets you own. This task may be easier or harder depending on how big your family is and what you own.

If you have dependent children then usually you’ll be advised to leave enough to support them. You’ll also need to consider adopted and step children.

If you have older children will they all get an equal share? You might want to leave it all to a grandchild, or niece. It’s up to you what you do with your money and assets, so think carefully when making a Will.

It doesn’t have to be only family that benefits, if a friend has helped you throughout your life or you want to give something to charity, you’ll need to list that in your Will.

Changing a Will

If you’ve already written a Will but need to have it changed then you have to make an official alteration, called a codicil. This needs to be witnessed too.

There’s no limit on how many codicils you can add to a Will.

It’s recommended that you review your Will every five years or after any major life changes such as having a child, moving house, getting divorced or married.

If you have major changes to make then you should make a new Will and explain that it officially cancels all previous Wills.

Contact Us

If you are interested or require any information on any of our services then please get in touch for an appointment on:

 01925 571 212
Mon-Fri: 9am - 5pm

Latest News

Compromise is the perfect solution to flexible working requests

A Cheshire-based employment law specialist believes compromise is the ideal solution to flexible working requests. The goalposts shifted considerably during the coronavirus pandemic with almost half of adults working from home. According to data from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN), more than eight in 10 workers who had to do their job from home […]

Ageing population highlights importance of writing a will

A Cheshire-based wills and probate solicitor thinks that there is no time like the present for getting your affairs in order and writing a will with the age of the population on the rise. Recently released figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the number of people in England and Wales aged […]

Family solicitor Lauren celebrates anniversary with step towards key accreditation

Lauren Soutar marked her one-year anniversary at Watsons Solicitors by taking a significant step closer to acquiring the Law Society’s Children Law Accreditation. Tuesday 18 October was exactly one-year since Lauren joined the Warrington-based firm as a family lawyer. By the time that date came around, Lauren had undertaken the Children Law scheme’s mandatory three-day […]

Trainee solicitor Hannah shortlisted for top Warrington Business Awards honour

Hannah Dale and Watsons Solicitors are celebrating after the trainee was shortlisted for the Apprentice of the Year honour at the prestigious Warrington Business Awards. Hannah is on the three-strong shortlist for the award which is open to any individual who has undergone a full-time training position during the period from January 2020 to September […]

Watsons Solicitors
Lexel Accreditation
Children Law Accredited
Conveyancing Quality

Watsons Solicitors is a trading name of Watsons Solicitors Warrington LLP a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales registered number OC386012 whose registered office is 13 Bold Street, Warrington, WA1 1DJ.

Watsons Solicitors Warrington LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority number 598547.

Website managed by Outwrite PR, an online reputation management agency
envelope-oclock-ophonefax linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram