Drafting a will isn’t a particularly enjoyable task. Precisely why more than 40% of adults aged 55 and over in the United Kingdom don’t have one. Nevertheless, formalising the allocation of your assets in the event of your death is one of the most important things anyone will do during their lifetime.
What many overlook is the fact that preparing a will is a gesture of kindness and thought to your loved ones. If your affairs are not in order at the time of your death, it can place an enormous burden on your closest friends and family members. All making an incredibly challenging time in life even more difficult.
With this in mind, here are five simple yet useful tips preparing an effective will and ensuring your affairs are in order:
1. Speak to a solicitor
First up, consulting with a solicitor should be considered mandatory. Writing a will that’s incomplete, misleading or open to interpretation can make things more complicated than not writing a will in the first place. In addition, working with an experienced solicitor can make the process significantly easier and less daunting from start to finish.
2. Think carefully about your beneficiaries
There’s no room for assumptions whatsoever where a will is concerned. If you want any of your assets or estate to be passed on to a specific person, they need to be named in your will. Under no circumstances should you be ambiguous with your allocation of assets – be as clear as possible regarding who gets what.
3. Be specific with asset allocation
Speaking of which, it’s also important to be clear and specific with each and every asset you intend to allocate. This can be a time-consuming process if you have a relatively large estate, but can nonetheless make it much easier for your beneficiaries to cope following your death. Essentially, you should be looking to create an inventory of everything of value you own, clearly indicating who will subsequently take ownership of it.
4. Talk to your beneficiaries
It’s not uncommon for beneficiaries to be allocated wealth, assets and estates they hadn’t expected to inherit. Nevertheless, it can be far easier and more reassuring for everyone involved to talk openly about the will. If possible, talk to as many of your named beneficiaries at the same time, rather than on a one-to-one basis. This will help ensure everybody understands your intentions and is on the same page.
5. Communicate changes clearly
Wills are often contested due to alterations or additions being made, without the knowledge of one or more beneficiaries. If you intend to make any alterations to your will whatsoever, it’s important that they be communicated clearly to those they affect. Pleasant and unpleasant surprises at a later date can trigger equally heated disputes.
6. Formally finalise the document
Last up, it’s important to remember that absolutely any will can be contested at any time and for any reason. It’s the legal right of every UK citizen to challenge a will, should they wish to do so. This is why you must ensure that your final will is clear, concise and complete, having been checked and assessed from top to bottom by a trained legal advisor. It’s worth remembering that even if your will makes sense to you, it could be considered incomplete or ambiguous by others.
If you’d like to learn more about preparing a will, contact a member of the team at Aristone Solicitors for an obligation-free consultation.
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