An overview of will writing Writing a will is a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of personal financial planning. Many individuals delay or avoid the process of creating a will, either due to discomfort in addressing their mortality or simply because they perceive it as a complex and time-consuming task. However, having a well-drafted will is essential for ensuring that your wishes are respected and your assets are distributed according to your intentions. In this article, we will explore the significance of will writing and the key components involved in creating a comprehensive and effective will. What is a will? A will, also known as a last will and testament, is a legal document that outlines how an individual's assets, properties and possessions should be distributed after their death. It serves as a guide for executors, appointed individuals responsible for carrying out the deceased's wishes, and ensures that the deceased's intentions are honoured. The key component
What are mirror wills? When you and your husband, wife or civil partner take advantage of a professional will writing service, you’re often asked whether you want mirror wills. What does that mean and how will it affect the way your will works? Usually created by spouses or partners, mirror wills name each of the two testators as the main beneficiary of each other’s wills, with similar default beneficiaries in the event that one of you has predeceased the other, or both of you die together or within a short period of each other. Having a mirror will is a very common will writing option for husbands, wives or civil partners who want to leave everything to each other, with their entire estate going to children on second death. Can you change or replace one of the mirror wills without affecting the other? Yes. All you’re doing when you make mirror wills is having an individual will written that’s similar in content to that of your husband, wife or civil partner. The wills are stan
Who or what are 'executors'? When you write a will or get a will written, you’ll need to choose one or more executors. Before you decide whom to appoint, it’s important to know what their duties and responsibilities are after your death. When somebody dies, it’s often a mistaken assumption that the next of kin or other family members can sort out their affairs and deal with any gifts they’ve made to loved ones. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. When you make a will, you appoint one or more executors to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death. That includes making sure that all gifts in your will are received by the beneficiaries. Your executor/s can be your spouse or other family members, but that's not always the case. Other responsibilities of your executor/s include dealing with the administration of your estate, such as paying off any debts or paying any inheritance tax that may be due. The will may include specific instructions for the e
When you make a will, what are your 'chattels'? If you've heard the word 'chattels' referred to in will writing, you may be wondering what items are included in this cover-all term. These days it's more common for will writers to avoid any possible confusion by using the term 'personal possessions' rather than the rather archaic term 'chattels'. This description is more self-explanatory, but what exactly are your personal possessions when it comes to making a will? Personal chattels (or personal possessions)  are defined by s55(1)(x) of the Administration of Estates 1925 as amended by the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014. They include a ny personal goods other than 'money, securities for money or property used solely or mainly for business purposes'. How do you will your personal possessions? When you have a will written, it's common to leave your chattels or personal possessions to your husband, wife or civil partner. When y
What is a survivorship clause? When you make a will, it's common to include a survivorship clause. But what does that actually mean? If you've ever had a will written, or you've read somebody's else's will, you may have noticed that it included a 'survivorship clause'. That's a statement saying that anybody who dies within a specified time of the testator's death (up to six months) will be deemed to have predeceased them. Why do wills include a survivorship clause? The main reason for including a survivorship clause is to avoid two sets of probate for mirror wills which name husbands, wives or civil partners as sole main beneficiaries, in the event that both partners die at the same time or within a short time frame of each other. What happens if a husband and wife (or civil partners) die simultaneously? If you and your husband, wife or civil partner die at the same time (for example, in a car crash), and it's not possible to determine which of y
How do you ensure your children from a previous marriage can inherit a share of your home? It's not as simple as just naming them as default beneficiaries when you make a will. It's a sad fact that over 40% of marriages end in divorce. Therefore, many people who are thinking of making a will are likely to have remarried at least once, maybe more than once. If you're remarried and you have children from a previous relationship, you'll naturally want to provide for them in your will. It's no problem to make a specific gift to them in your will, for example an amount of money or a treasured personal possession. However, when it comes to making sure they can inherit a share of your marital home, that's not as straightforward as it may seem. Why you can't just make your children default beneficiaries It's common for married couples to leave everything to each other, and then to their children following the second death. However, that doesn't work if you w
What happens if you die without making a will? Do you need to make a will? The simple answer is 'yes', and here’s why. Many people either put off making a will or think it’s not something they need to think about. However, if you don’t make a will you can’t be sure that your money, possessions and assets will go to the people you want them to after you death. In fact, they could end up going to the State. No will. No control. If you’re resident in England and Wales and you haven’t written a will or commissioned a professional will writer to write a will for you, you will be classed as ‘intestate’ when you die. That means your money and property will be shared out according to the rules of intestacy. It doesn’t matter if you had loved ones to whom you were particularly close. Your estate will be treated by default in exactly the same way as the estate of anyone else who dies without making a will. The only people who can benefit from your estate if you die intestate are