Writing a will to protect your loved ones in the event of your death could be a quick and easy New Year’s resolution to tick off the list.
Especially as 95 per cent of Britons made at least one New Year’s resolution at the stroke of midnight, but within seven days, 48 per cent will have given up and 88 per cent will have returned to their old ways by the end of January.
Ann Farnill, solicitor at Tallents in Southwell says:
The first step in making a will is as easy as picking up the phone and calling your solicitor to make an appointment. With years of experience in helping to draft wills, we can help everyone through the process, quickly and simply.
We know that no one wants to think about his or her own mortality, but you never know what’s around the corner. And the last thing you want to do, when your loved ones are mourning you, is leave them with a tangled financial mess because you died without a will.
Having a valid and up to date will is vitally important if:
- – You are not married to, or in a civil relationship with your partner
- – You have separated from your spouse or civil partner
- – You have children from a former marriage or relationship that you want to provide for
- – You have a disabled relative you wish to provide for
Writing a will in six easy steps
Once you’ve made your appointment, the will-writing process is more straightforward that people often think. We’ll ask clients to think about six key areas:
- List what you own
- For example: property, savings, stocks and shares, insurance policies, business interests and pensions.
- Family and beneficiary details
- Full names of your spouse, partner, children or other parties financially dependent on you.
- Decide who gets what
- Full names and addresses of the people you wish to benefit from your estate. Think about how you would like your assets divided between them. Perhaps you’d like to leave a legacy to grandchildren or a charity, or bequeath a special piece of jewellery or furniture to a loved one? This is the point when you can decide who will receive your bequests.
- These will be the people who ensure your last wishes are carried out and they will administer your Will for you. You can choose whoever you want to be an executor: family member, friend or a professional, such as your solicitor. The executor can also be a beneficiary in your will. We would always recommend that you choose at least two executors to cover situations where one is unable, or unwilling to act. And you should always check to make sure the executors are happy to take on this role before you sign your will.
- You may wish to name legal guardians for any children under the age of 18 when you die.
- Other wishes
- Perhaps you have a specific funeral in mind, or prepay for your funeral? You can use your will to be specific about your final wishes.
If you’ve already made a will, then Tallents recommend you review it every five years, or if circumstances change. For example: marriage, separation, divorce, the birth of a child or grandchild, the death of a beneficiary in your will or moving home.
Many people find great comfort in making a will. It doesn’t have to be a maudlin time, instead it can be a period of review and introspection, and often results in a renewed enthusiasm for the future knowing that there’s one less thing to worry about.
Why not make 2013 the year you actually stick to a New Year’s resolution and complete your will?