So as Covid-19 continues to dominate our headlines I thought I should do an update on how this affects your situation in relation to Wills and Will drafting. No matter what age you are ,you are concerned that you could be a victim. The daily death numbers, the loss to families, the disruption to lives. What if those who are affected in addition to dealing with the grief are left with the Deceased’s affairs in an unfinished state?
Would making even a simple Will have meant that those left behind have time to grieve and have one less problem to deal with.
While no-one should do a “Homemade Will”, as they are usually a recipe for trouble later on, at least understand some basic rules what makes up a valid Will.
- State that it is the Last Will.
- Appoint one or two people who you trust to be Executors. An Executor is anybody who is to carry out what the Will says. Over 18’s only and of sound mind.
- Give property/gifts to whoever you want. Remember spouses get an automatic share.
- Do some basic reading on Tax in particular CAT and how it can be minimised.
- Finish with a “sweeper clause” known as a residuary clause. This “sweeps” up anything not covered in No. 3 above.
- Sign and date it and have it witnessed by two people not included in No. 3 or No. 4 above.
- Signing and witnessing has to be done in a particular way. Both witnesses must be present at the same time to see you sign.
- The signing and witnessing are where the non-legal person can err. It is best to ask a Solicitor dealing with Wills and Estates on a daily basis to ensure that your wishes are followed after your death. Good advice is worth paying for and I am sure terms can be arranged for payment in the future if this creates a difficulty.
- Another golden rule is not to choose witnesses who are going to benefit in any way under the Will or are married or in a civil partnership with any beneficiary.
In summary remember you are working to clearly set out the passing of your property and assets to the next generation. Isn’t that important enough to get the right person and use the services of someone who knows how to get it done?