Things to Include in Your Will

Creating a will is not a process that comes naturally to many of us; when faced with the task of arranging your assets, trusts and finances, and making provisions for your loved ones, many of us can feel lost for words and unsure where to even begin.

Below, we look at five of the most important things to include within your will. Doing so will help to make sure that your wishes are met, and that the best interests of your friends and family are protected after your passing.

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  • Property, Financial and Digital Assets, and Gifts

Your will represents a vital opportunity to have your wishes met after your passing, and you should take the time and care needed to decide how you wish for your assets to be shared between your loved ones. From your home to the irreplaceable photographs you have stored on your computer, everything should be accounted for and clearly designated to someone to avoid any confusion or dispute.

Similarly, any gifts you wish to impart to charity should be clearly laid out within your will.

  • Arrangements for Your Children and Pets

While it is incredibly difficult to contemplate a scenario in which our children or pets are left without us, it is worse still to imagine the confusion and upheaval they would face if no provisions were put in place ahead of time. For your own peace of mind – and for their own safety and security – including a clear and carefully considered plan for their care is one of the most important things you can do on their behalf.

  • Arrangements for your Funeral

Mourning a loved one represents an incredibly difficult time in our lives, and providing a clear list of instructions for your funeral will offer a valuable lifeline to your loved ones in the initial days and weeks after your passing.

It is important that you let someone in your immediate family aware that these plans have been detailed in your will, so as to ensure that they will know where to look as they prepare for your funeral.

  • Trusts

Establishing a trust will safeguard an inheritance or property on behalf of one or more of your inheritors, until the time is right for them to inherit.

If your beneficiary is too young to handle their own finances, for instance, then a trust can be established in their name – and handled, for the time being, by an appointed trustee – until they are old enough to receive their inheritance. This will safeguard the inheritance against others, and ensure that your wishes are met only when the beneficiary comes of age.

There are two different types of trust – Discretionary and Life Interest – and your solicitor can help you to decide which is right for you, and for your inheritors.

  • Your Executors

It is impossible to understate the importance of clarity, particularly in the immediate aftermath of your passing. Providing clear instructions as to who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes will offer a lifeline for your loved ones, and ensure that the process of sorting through your estate is able to happen as simply and straightforwardly as possible.

Remain Mindful of Potential Mistakes

In order to be valid and legally enforceable, a will needs to meet a number of criteria. None of us are able to defend or justify our wills after we have passed, so it is imperative that we create them under the right circumstances (when we are of sound mind, for example), and that they are properly witnessed, signed, and written voluntarily.

The requirements are incredibly precise, and even seemingly minor clerical issues can undermine your wishes and make it necessary for your loved ones to go about the lengthy and difficult process of contesting a will, which can lead to a great deal of stress and, under certain circumstances, irreparable rifts within the family unit.

Consult with a solicitor as you begin creating your will, and ensure that it is regularly updated as your circumstances change.