One day I’ll get around to it – Why do you need a will?
Yes, it may not be a cheery subject to discuss or think about but it is important. No one wants to think of their mortality or of leaving loved ones behind but the fact is that preparing a well thought out will is a gift that you can give your family and friends. It saves the stress of family fights, uncertainly over certain responsibilities and it also saves a lot of stress for the people you leave behind.
Wills are for everyone. It does not matter what assets you have or if you are rich or modest. A will is a way of protecting what you do have and looking after any dependent children. And there are tax benefits too. If you have never made a will before then starting can be quite easy if you follow some simple steps. If you already have a will, then be sure to review it whenever your personal circumstances change, for example if you divorce, re-marry or have more children. Think about whether you need to see a lawyer or whether an online DIY will kits will suffice.
So, to get started you need to find someone to appoint as executer. If you decide not to go down that road and would rather do it yourself then make sure you use a proper source and ensure that you have all the details that you need. You must still have the will witnessed and make sure that your family know about the will and where to find it.
You will need to ensure that you have the contact details for immediate family such as spouse, parents, and children and so on. Then you need to gather any financial documents, legal documents and so on. If you have young children, then you should think about appointing a guardian, and also someone to act as executor so that your wishes can be executed when necessary.
Assets and Debts
First, assess all of your debts. This includes mortgages, credit cards, student loans, car loans or any other loans or debts.
Then gather details of all assets such as property, cars or jewellery. Other assets such as furniture, artwork, investments in stocks etc, life insurance policies, and bank accounts and so on should also be recorded.
Write your will
Think carefully about how this is going to work. Some things will be easy; you might have no doubt about leaving your house to your spouse or children. But other things will be harder. Who gets that pearl necklace you always wear? Who do you give the car to? And what about any debts you have, who is responsible for them?
Finding the right way to fill it out is up to you. There are online forms which you can use very easily, and this may be the best option for you, especially if the will is fairly straightforward. Go on line and look for a will kit that suits your needs then get started. Alternatively you can use a lawyer. If you go online, then simply follow all the check lists and request a copy either in hard copy or online.
Online will kits
You can save considerable amounts of money by doing your own will, online. You still get a copy, either via email or a hardcopy via post. But you can save on all the legal fees by doing it online. You can still have your will checked by a lawyer and choose a Power of attorney. A DIY will kits can allow you more control over your will and full security. Most DIY will kits have a checklist that you can follow to ensure that you have completed it all correctly. This way, you can be sure that your family and loved ones will have clear instructions and peace of mind when you pass away.
Online will kits can cancel out any previous wills you may have made and you can choose who is in charge of executing your will. You can also choose to bar or remove anyone from receiving assets.
Online is a safe and secure way of preparing your will, most programs give you secure passwords and encryptions so you can be sure the details you include are safe from anyone who shouldn’t be looking.
Keep your will safe
After you have just gone to all this trouble to set up a will make sure you keep the will safe. One option is to ask a solicitor or public trustee to keep a copy. Or you can make a copy of the will and give it to a trustee or executor. You can choose to keep the contents of your will secret if you wish, simply place a copy in a sealed or locked place. Another good idea is to register your will. There is a national register where you can save your will.
The times when you should review your will include any changes in your marital status, or if you have children. The death of any children of family members will also affect your will.
Other times to review your will include changes to your employment status, new business investments or changes in value to your assets. If people listed in the will change address then you might need to make an amendment to your will and if anyone listed changes their name for example by marriage then take another look at your wil.
As you can see, writing a will can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. You can simply write ‘I leave everything to my daughter” or you can go into much more depth and split literally everything you have down into categories. Consulting a lawyer is a good idea, at least to get the will witnessed and registered. But save yourself legal fees and expense by using an online will kit if you can.