It’s a subject that many people would rather avoid. However, preparing and executing your will is an important consideration so that you can ensure your legacy is dealt with as you intend. While it may seem morbid to think about, having your affairs in order will ultimately save your next of kin extra time and stress.
How Do I Put a Will in Place?
Your will can be drafted by a solicitor, or you can write it yourself. The benefit of getting a solicitor’s assistance is that you will be assured that your will is legally valid. Your solicitor can also act as the executor of your will, if you wish.
The criteria for a valid will are:
- It is in writing;
- The person making the will (known as the testator) is over 18;
- The testator is of sound mind, i.e. they must have the capacity to decide what to do regarding their will, and they must be able to understand what they are doing;
- The will is signed or marked by the testator affirming that they have done so with two witnesses present;
- This signature or mark is placed at the end of the will;
- The two witnesses also sign the will, and neither of them receive anything in the will.
There is no prescribed format that you must adhere to when making your will, but it must include several items of information, including:
- Your name and address;
- Your statement confirming that you renounce any previous wills or codicils (changes that you may have made to your will);
- Details of one or more executors, who will be responsible for ensuring that the stipulations in your will are implemented after your death.
You can also include a residuary clause, which details what should happen to any of your assets that are not accounted for in your will.
Can I Change My Will After I’ve Made It?
Once your will has been made, you may want to make amendments due to, for example, changes to your assets or relationships. To do this, you can add what’s called a codicil to your will. A codicil is a separate document that contains information of the change you would like to make. However, if you want to make a lot of changes it may be easier to revoke your will and make a new one.
What if I Don’t Make a Will?
Having a will in place is the only way to ensure that your affairs are delegated as you wish after you die. If you don’t have a will, your estate will be dealt with according to the laws of intestacy. The law of intestacy provides that your estate will be distributed based on your relationship with the beneficiaries.
For such a delicate and complex issue, seeking professional advice is highly recommended.
We have the expertise and experience to guide you through wills and probate issues, whether you are an individual seeking peace of mind in regard to your personal affairs and the distribution of your assets following death or an executor tasked with putting the provisions of a deceased person’s will into operation.
Our team at Martin A. Harvey & Co., Solicitors will assist you throughout the process from initial consultation, extraction of grant of probate and finally distribution of the estate.To arrange for a consultation, please contact our team here.