Listing all assets can cause problems

Many people decide when making their DIY Will to list everything they own. The problem with a Will Kit is that it doesn't explain it is unlikely everything you own will remain the same; you may choose to open bank accounts or sell a watch. Professionals can assist you with the clauses which cover all eventualities to save you updating your Will every time you buy something. 

Alternate Scenarios

It may be a difficult task, but it is necessary to consider all possible occurrences when writing a Will. Many of us fail to consider back up plans should any Beneficiaries, Executors or Trustees pre-decease us, or become unable or unwilling to execute the wishes of the Will.  It is also recommended to have second options for Guardians for any children.

Knowing your beneficiaries

Any details of Beneficiaries must be correct and concise. Up to date names and addresses are essential. “My friend Julie” will not suffice as no doubt many people will come forward purporting to be Julie.

Clarity

Being concise is essential in Will writing. It is best to simply state an item, followed by a Beneficiary. When working with a Will kit it is easy to get carried away and complicate things.

Somebody must know where your Will is stored

If nobody knows where your Will is stored, or that you’ve even written one, it is impossible for your wishes to be put in place. It is vital that somebody you trust knows that you’ve made a Will and where it is. Contact us to discuss our Document Storage service.

Children and Trusts

A person under the age of 18 may not inherit anything directly. Any money must be put into a trust until the child reaches 18 (or older if specified in the Will). If well written, a Will can allow a child to access funds for important things like education or private health care.

Children and Guardians

When using a blank page Will kit it is possible to miss things. A part often overlooked is setting Guardians for children under 18. This is a decision not to be taken lightly, and is certainly not one to be left to the courts.

Getting your figures right

When trying to distribute your estate between several people, for example children, and you do not wish to give equal proportions, the maths can become an issue. This is a part which needs to be worked out correctly and expressed clearly.


Neglecting legal formalities

An example of negligence of Legal Estate Planning formalities is the story of the late Mr Aregbesola and his daughter Tinuola. Mr Aregbesola made a Will – using a basic service – stating that he would leave half of the value of his property to Tinuola. The property was owned jointly with Mr Aregbesola’s wife, who is not Tinuola’s mother. Unfortunately, upon writing the Will, the joint tenancy agreement on the property was not severed, meaning nothing went to Tinuola. With the use of basic Will kits, it is easy to neglect simple formalities.

Failing to give all necessary powers to any Executors or Trustees

In a professionally written Will, there will typically be a part which gives all required consent to a person’s executors to deal with the estate. This is a clause which is very important and is almost impossible to write without some professional direction.

Beneficiaries must not serve as witnesses

In order to be valid, a Will must be witnessed by two adults. It is a common misconception that your Beneficiaries can witness the signing of a Will. Due to the fact that this document gives them the right to inherit part of your estate, Beneficiaries may not be witnesses as this has the potential to invalidate the document entirely.

‘Residual Clause’

A Will must have a section which describes what will happen to the remainder of the estate. Once any debts have been settled, taxes have been paid and funeral costs are dealt with, any Beneficiaries’ bequests will be made. Any money left over following this – the residue – must be considered.

Changes must be made officially

Handwritten changes are a big no in Wills. Any changes must be written into the Will correctly or they may not be considered.

Conditional Bequests

For some of us, it is tempting to try to control things after we have gone. There are many stories of people ending ‘I leave £50,000 to my son…’ with ‘if he marries’ or ‘if he graduates from University’. Bequests like these can cause issues as the Executor of the Will would have to hold on to the funds until the conditional action takes place.
 
It has been estimated that a problem with a Will can cost up to 10% of the value of an estate in fees, so on the basis of a £300,000 estate, that’s a loss of £30,000.  This is why it is really important to take careful consideration with Will writing.

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