Having taken the decision to make your Will, possibly for the first time, there are a few points you should consider before committing yourself to an appointment with a professional Will Writer.
The Consultants job is to take your instructions and translate these into your Will, creating a document which accurately reflects your wishes.
The Will needs to be understood by your executors and most importantly,
problems which may occur causing delays and possible hardship to your
There are some important questions which you need to consider before
meeting with your Consultant. By having many of the answers available it
will leave more time to discuss the other important issues which may arise
during the consultation.
1. THE APPOINTMENT OF EXECUTORS AND TRUSTEES.
You do not need to appoint other 'professionals' to act as an executor or
trustee of your estate unless there is the likely hood of a Trust arising. It
many cases it would be sufficient appoint your spouse or partner together
with a member of your family, a prime beneficiary or close friends to act,
AN EXECUTOR CAN ALSO BE A BENEFICIARY
If you do need to appoint a professional executor, you could consider
appointing a trust corporation, such as the SWW Trust Corporation or other Trust
Corporation to act on your behalf. Your consultant will be able to advise you on
the best choice given your circumstances and give a guide to the fees they
are likely to charge.
2. APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIANS
Only if you have minor children (under the age of 18 years) will you need to
It may be helpful to make at least one guardian a joint executor, they do
have a right to money from your estate to help towards the cost of bringing
up your children. If you wish to restrict the amount to which they are entitled,
it may be wise to leave the money in trust, again your consultant will be able
to advise on the suitability of such a scheme. One should always remember
though that trusts can be expensive to administer, particularly over a long
If you have disabled children who are likely to require specialist care either
Trust Companies run by charities which can help, the Society can give you
individual advice in these circumstances.
How you hold your property will determine how it passes on your death. As
'Joint Tenants' your share will pass to the survivor automatically and cannot
pass by your Will.
If you wish to pass your 'interest' in the property to your children or others,
you should hold your property as 'Tenants in Common'. Your consultant will
advise you on how this can be done; by holding your property as tenants in
to who you wish.
'Severing a joint tenancy' as it is called can protect part of your estate from
the unforeseen, such as protecting your share of your estate should your
spouse or partner marry or remarry after your death, or should you or your
spouse or partner go into full time residential care.
4. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
Specific Gifts - decide now if you wish to leave any other members of your
family or friends a special gift.
Pecuniary Legacies - this is the term for a gift of money, again give some
thought as to anyone, other than your spouse or children, who you may
wish to leave a legacy to, this also can include gifts to your favourite charity
(if a charity try and have the address and registration number available).
Residuary Legacy - this covers all the remainder of your estate, and in the
case of a married couple passes 'each to each other' and then on to any
children in equal shares upon the death of the survivor.
Long Stop - also described as the 'total calamity or disaster' clause, so
called because these beneficiaries will only inherit if all those named as your
residuary beneficiaries fail to survive you.
Funeral Wishes - you may choose to ignore this section. For those that
wish to leave specific instructions, such as cremation or burial and whether
flowers or donations are to be given, you should complete this section. It
must be pointed out that whatever your request, these are only a wish and
not binding on your executors to carry them out if they are unable to.
AND FINALLY - whatever you have put in your Will - and it is personal only
to you - make sure that your executors can find it when the time comes. Tell
them where you keep your Will and how they can get access to it.
Only use a trained professional who is a Society of Will Writer Member to help you make your Will