Last updated on August 9th, 2022 at 10:49 am
What to include in your will doesn’t have to be complicated when using our team of will writing solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield. If you’re thinking of writing a will, then keep on reading. Graysons’ team of will solicitors in Chesterfield and Sheffield answer some of the most commonly asked questions about will writing, including what you need to include in your last will and testament.
What to include in your will?
Here are some of the main things you will need to consider before writing your will.
List assets and value your estate – When writing a last will and testament, you will need to value your estate. You can do this by listing any assets that make up your estate. This includes any property that you own, including your home; savings in banks and buildings societies; any investments including stocks and shares; insurance, such as life insurance; any pension funds; motor vehicles and boats; fine art, jewellery, antiques, and furniture; and general household contents. From the total value of assets, you will need to deduct any debts, including mortgages, overdrafts, loans, and credit cards. Getting an estimate of your estate can also help you ascertain your inheritance tax risk. An experienced wills solicitor, such as Graysons’ team of will writing solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield, will be able to help you estimate the value of assets and likely inheritance tax liability.
Name an Executor – In your last will and testament, you will need to name an Executor or Executors. An Executor is a person appointed to distribute your estate according to your last will and testament. You can choose whoever you like to be your Executor, as long as they are aged 18-years or over. Many people choose a trusted family member or friend, or professional executor, such as Graysons’ team of Chesterfield and Sheffield solicitors. Being an executor can take a lot of work with time-consuming tasks, such as selling any property that you own and paying off debts. Your executor will also be responsible for ensuring the correct amount of Inheritance Tax and Capitals Gains tax is paid on your estate. Before naming an Executor or Executors when writing your will, you should first discuss it with your chosen Executors and ensure they are happy to take on this task.
Name Beneficiaries – You will need to name your chosen beneficiaries in your last will and testament. You will need to also outline what share of your estate you wish your beneficiaries to have. You can also specify if you want particular beneficiaries to have specific gifts. For example, you may want to ensure family heirlooms get passed on to your children. Graysons’ team of will writing solicitors in Chesterfield and Sheffield will be able to help you draft your will, providing s clear instructions on who your chosen beneficiaries are and what share of the estate you would like them to have.
Leave property – Your home will probably be the largest asset you leave and how it is passed on in your will depends on how you own your property. If you are married and your property is held on a joint tenancy, your share of the property will automatically pass to your spouse or civil partner. If the property is held as tenants in common, you will need to specify in your last will and testament who you would like to inherit your share of the property. If you own your property outright, you can specify who you would like to inherit it. You can also provide for a “right of residence,” which will give a person of your choosing the right to remain in the property for a specified period of time while passing the ownership on to someone else. Graysons’ team of will writing solicitors in Chesterfield and Sheffield can advise on property inheritance when writing your will.
Provide for children – Your last will and testament can ensure any children you have under the age of 18 are adequately cared for. You can appoint a Guardian or Guardians, to look after your children if both parents should die. You can set out the terms of a trust for any children, including instructions on how the trust should be managed and when the child or children will benefit from it. If you don’t have a last will and testament that outlines who should take care of any children under the age of 18 should both parents die, then the family courts will appoint a legal guardian. If you want to make sure any children are adequately cared for in your last will and testament, then contact Graysons’ team of Sheffield and Chesterfield solicitors.
Specify any legacy gifts to charities – Some people opt to leave a legacy gift by donating some of their estate to charity in their last will and testament. Not only is this a way to support a cause you believe in, but it can also help lower the inheritance tax rate on your remaining estate. Our team of solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield will be able to offer advice on how you can minimise the amount of inheritance tax your estate pays when writing your last will and testament.
Instructions for caring for pets – Many people view their pet or pets as family members. When writing a last will and testament, you can leave instructions as to who you would like to care for your pet or pets. You can even set up a trust to cover the care of any pets. According to the Guinness World Records, the wealthiest pet is a cat named Blackie, who was left £7 million in 1988 when his owner Ben Rea died. If you don’t state who you would like to care for any pets in your will, then it will be up to the Executor or Executors of your will to find your pet a suitable home. This might be a family member, friend, or through an animal re-homing centre.
Clarify ownership of online accounts and digital assets – In an increasingly digital world, many people own digital assets, including photographs, films, music, and digital artwork. In your last will and testament, you can specify which beneficiary or beneficiaries should receive your digital assets. You can also specify in your last will and testament what you would like to happen to any social media accounts that you own, including deleting them or naming beneficiaries to take them over.
Give funeral instructions – While not legally binding, many people opt to include funeral instructions in their will. This may include whether you wish to be cremated or buried. Keep in mind that your last will and testament may not be read until after plans are already in place for your funeral, so you should always let loved ones know what funeral arrangements you would prefer.
Add exclusion clauses – Some people wish to have an exclusion clause in their will. An exclusion clause highlights a person or specific people who you do not wish to benefit from your estate. Exclusion clauses are often added to exclude people who would ordinarily benefit from a deceased estate, such as parents, children, or a spouse. Anyone can contest a will, and by adding an exclusion cause, you make it clear that not providing for a potential beneficiary was not an oversight, but intentional. If you wish to make sure someone cannot benefit from your estate, then Graysons’ team of wills solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield can advise and draft an appropriate exclusion clause in your last will and testament.
How can Graysons’ team of wills solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield help?
Graysons’ team of wills solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield can offer trusted and expert advice and ensure that all relevant matters are covered in your last will and testament. Our team of wills experts will also be able to ensure that your last will and testament is drafted in accordance with the law, avoiding any costly mistakes. Contact us today if you need help writing a will.