Sorting the Structure of Your Legal Will

Drafting a legal Will may seem very difficult and confusing at first. But once you have identified all the steps involved in the process, everything should into place. This article will help you put together the framework of your legal Will. There are several free Will templates available online to choose from. Alternatively, you can even opt to hire a solicitor for writing your Will. No matter what way you choose, it is necessary that the structure of your Will is well arranged. This starts by gathering information. We suggest you to make a list of things that are needed to make a Will. This list helps you get a clear perspective of what you want to include in your Will and any complications that you may face.

List 1: Possible executors, long term trustees and guardians of your children
Executors are the people you enlisted in your Will to execute your wishes after your death. Choosing your executors is surely a daunting task as there are several things that you need to take into consideration. These individuals that you choose as your executors need to be alive when you die and they need to be the people you trust as they will be dividing your estate in accordance to your Will. As per the UK law, you can appoint up to four executors at the most. On an average, people appoint two or three executors in their Will.

But who should your executor be?
Usually people appoint their close friends or family members along with a solicitor or accountant as their executors. However, your listed executors should reasonably outlive you and should be willingly ready to carry out the responsibility. If your executors live in different countries or are busy sorting their own affairs, they are unlikely to carry out your wishes the way you want them to. Additionally, unless it is specified otherwise, your executors by default become the trustees of any trust created by your Will. If at all you choose to hire a professional executor, make sure you enlist the trustees in your Will.

List 2: What you might have in your estate
Estate is a legally used term for your belongings, financial assets and debts. It is essential that you list down what your estate contains along with its value before you die. In this, you also need to consider whether any of your assets may increase in value after your death.

By getting an idea of all this,

  • You can consider which possession should be passed on to which people
  • How much value you get to give to each of your beneficiary
  • What part of your estate might be left to be sold

Remember that you can be very particular while drafting your Will.

Here’s something you need to remember:

  • Personal possessions: these are things of value such as your antique furniture, art and jewellery. It also includes things that hold sentimental values such as heirlooms, books and letters.
  • Your house or apartment: you get to decide how the property you own gets distributed. Whether someone gets to inherit it or is inherited automatically when you die.
  • Distribution of other real property such as vehicles.
  • Distribution of the stocks and shares you possess in public and private companies along with any business partnerships under your name
  • Cash: amount of money in your bank accounts, building societies or elsewhere
  • Distribution of intellectual property such as your music composition, book rights or designs

List 3: Beneficiaries
Out of all the lists, enlisting your beneficiaries is the easiest list to compile. The lost of beneficiaries comprises of the name, age and address of all the people whom you want to benefit from your estate after you die.

This list may include people like:

  • Your spouse or civil partner
  • Your unmarried companion
  • Your children
  • Other family members
  • Close friends and caretakers
  • A charity

Since you are in control of distribution of your estate, you also need to consider whom your beneficiaries might pass on your estate after they die (if at all it matters to you). Depending on the list of your beneficiaries and what you have left for them, you might even need to set up a trust.

List 4: Possible Problems
Once you are sorted with all the things you need to include in your Will, it is time to list down the possible problems and issues that you face. Some of the problems that you include here could be common issues while some of them would be unique to you.

We have enlisted some common examples of issues one can face:

  • Interests after your re-marriage. For example, in case you have two families.
  • Who will be running your business after you or how will your business function in your absence.
  • Issues of trust with your enlisted beneficiaries. In case you feel your beneficiary may mis-use the estate they inherit.
  • Age of inheritance for children: 18, 21 or older and what or how much amounts do they inherit?
  • Managing your unborn child’s and grandchild’s future
  • How will your children be brought up in case your spouse and you both happen to die?
  • Arrangement of all your financial affairs so as to pay proper amount of inheritance tax and not overpay through ignorance or carelessness.

Having a list created of what you possibly want to include in your Will and what could possibly go wrong can give you a clear perspective on sorting the structure of your Will in the moment, which will mean everything goes to plan and you can relax knowing your loved ones are well looked after once you’re gone.

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