Will writing is never fun. You are after all, preparing for life after you’ve gone. But it’s vital that you do write one. It means that loved ones are cared for, and that your possessions go those you want them to go to.
But where do you even start? What should a will include? How much do you leave?
Here’s a short guide on what you need to do.
Before you move forward with writing your will you need to decide who gets what. The basics of your plan for money and possessions (known as your estate) should be established before you visit a solicitor or talk about your will with family.
Who to include
This should be relatively easy, as you’ll probably know who you want to include in your will. It’s likely to involve your partner, children, family, friends, and/or charities. The people you choose will be known as your beneficiaries.
What are your assets?
This can take a little longer than deciding who your beneficiaries are. And that’s simply because you probably have a lot of stuff. The best place to start is with things that are easy to value, like savings and valuable objects.
Next you need to look at assets that change in value. You aren’t going to be able to estimate their worth exactly. They can include property, any businesses you may own, investments, and pensions.
The last thing to look at are sentimental items that you may want someone to inherit or take charge of when you are gone.
How should you split your money?
Broadly speaking, there are four main types of legacy that you can leave.
- A pecuniary bequest – this is where you leave a fixed sum of money i.e. ‘I leave £5,000 to my brother’
- A specific bequest – this is where you leave a specific item you own i.e. ‘I leave my drum kit to my sons’
- A residuary bequest – this means that you leave a percentage of whatever your estate is worth
- A reversionary bequest – this is where you leave say, your house to a husband, but if they do not survive you, it will be passed to, a son, daughter, or family member.
Depending on your estate and your family matters, you may only use one of the above. In most instances however, a combination of the above are employed to ensure your assets reach those you intend.
Will writing can be quite complicated and tricky, so if you want to guarantee your assets are going to the right people, use a solicitor. Here at Attwood & Co we can offer guidance on will writing, making planning for the future so much easier.