Writing a will can be a daunting process. However, it is something we need to do if we want our wishes carried out after we pass away.
With proper preparation and correct legal advice, writing a will shouldn't be a process that you dread.
Here are 5 key points on the importance of making a will
1. Get professional advice
Writing a will is a can be complicated and time consuming. Unless you are writing a simple will in which you are leaving everything you own to your spouse/partner or children it is best to seek advice from a regulated will writing service or solicitor.
It is important to remember that a regulated will writer or solicitor will cost you more but setting up a professional will can legally protect your future and save you possibly thousands of pounds in tax later on,
2. What type of will?
There are different types of wills depending on your circumstances. The main ones are:
Single will - This is your standard will, ideal for people who are unmarried or those who are but have different requests to their spouse.
Mirror wills - This is a set of two mirroring wills that have identical instructions. It is more cost effective and less time consuming than creating two single wills. You must use mirror wills with caution however as the wills are legally binding themselves but do not legally bind the husband's will to the wife's will.
Living will - A living will is slightly different to the previous three, it allows you to give instructions about your care when you are still alive if you are taken ill and unable to communicate them yourself.
3. Mistakes can invalidate your will
One of the most common mistakes people make is not signing their wills, another is not having two witnesses present at the time of signing (attestation).
If you have a beneficiary sign your will then their inheritance will be void.
4. Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
There are two types of LPA. They are:
A property and finance LPA is the legal document that allows your attorney to make decisions about your money, tax, bills, property, pensions and investments. Your attorney has the power to look after your home and buy everything you might need day to day.
A health and welfare LPA is the legal document that allows your attorney to make decisions about your health, medical care, daily routine (washing, eating etc) and where it is best for you to live. They also have the power to buy you new clothes, decorate your home and secure you extra care if required.
In the event of you becoming mentally incapacitated and haven't put LPA's in place, your loved ones will have to go through the Court of Protection to gain a deputyship.
This is a difficult and costly process and can be avoided by proper preparation, saving you money and more importantly stress during such a difficult time.
A deputy is a person appointed by the Court of Protection to be legally responsible for someone who lacks capacity to make decisions for themselves where there is no power of attorney. The powers given depend on the person's needs.
5. Marriage and Divorce can affect your will
If you marry, any will that you have in place automatically becomes invalid. After you marry you should always create a new will or create a new one just before you marry and make clear that it was made in contemplation of forthcoming marriage.
You must include words along the lines of 'in anticipation of marriage to (insert name)' or in contemplation of marriage to (insert name)'. Any beneficial entitlement to the ex-spouse is void unless the will expressly states that it should remain.
Be prepared or seek legal advice and don't let a lack of understanding stop your beneficiaries from securing the inheritance you promised them.
For more information on will writing please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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