Will & Estate Planning
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Why you need a Will
If you do not have a Will, you have no say over what happens to your assets when you die and this can cause difficulties for those who you care about most. Because of this, everyone should have a Will: this is particularly true if you own property, are married, have entered civil partnership or have a long-term partner. It also applies if you have children or other dependents, or if you wish to leave something to someone who is not a close family member.
Estate Planning is the anticipation and arrangement of the management and disposal of a person’s estate, planning for incapacity as well as death. Reducing taxes and Care Home liabilities, ensuring that the intended beneficiaries do inherit.
Frequently asked questions:
1. Can family members witness your Will?
The general rule to keep in mind is that a person who may benefit from your Will cannot sign as a witness. In other words, witnesses must not be beneficiaries of your will (or their spouses). Witnesses should also be 18 years old or over, and be UK citizens.
2. How many Executors can I appoint?
We recommend you choose between 2 and 4 Executors to keep the process through probate as manageable as possible. Appointing only 1 person as Executor is not recommended to avoid the possibility of that person pre-deceasing you.
3. What is the role of the Executor?
In simple terms, an Executor is responsible for ensuring the terms and wishes of the deceased are adhered to and to manage the process through probate, which can be quite involved.
4. What is the difference between an Executor and a Trustee?
The Executor is a person or organization appointed by the Will of the deceased to distribute the estate of the deceased as directed by the Will. A Trustee is a legal term that refers to a person or organization who holds and manages the estate temporarily on behalf of a beneficiary. In most Wills, these are one and the same person/organization.
5. Is storage of my Will important?
Your will is a very important document both for you and your family. As such, it should be kept safely and securely and your Executors should be kept informed of its location at all times.
6. Can I make changes to my Will in the future?
The simple answer is yes and there are many ways of making those changes, depending on the nature of the change you wish to make. Major changes may require a complete re-write of your existing Will while more minor changes can be dealt with by preparing a Codicil or Memorandum of Wishes. Remember a Will is a Legal document, and so is a Codicil. A Memorandum of Wishes is not a Legal document but your Executors are honor bound to comply with your wishes; it is also easier to make additional changes to this document if you change your mind or circumstances change again. For instance, you may have certain instructions you wish your Executors to carry out on your death (a particular piece of music to be played at your funeral), or you may wish to distribute certain items of your estate in a particular way. Preparing a Memorandum of Wishes is the simplest way to deal with this type of change. Codicils and Memorandums of Wishes should be stored alongside your Will.