There are a number of things that need to be included in a Will.
Executors are those people in charge of sorting out the estate, dealing with the administration. This means they have to apply for the Grant of Probate if this is required, ensure that the best price for assets is obtained, and they have to show reasonable care and attention.
Often, people assume that a professional executor is required. However, if circumstances are straightforward, then this is not necessarily the case.
People can appoint the same people as executors, as those people benefitting from the estate, and this usually makes sense, as those people have every reason to get things sorted out, so that they receive their benefit in a reasonable time.
If the executors need professional help at the time, whether it’s because they cannot cope emotionally with the situation, or because they feel overwhelmed by all the paperwork, then they can ask for help. If they want to “shop around” then appointing family members means they can do this, whereas if a bank, solicitor or other professional is appointed, then they would find this more difficult.
If people have children under 18 years old, they should make provision for guardians. Guardians are people who take care of children if
neither parent is alive. People often don’t tell executors that they’ve been appointed, but given the life changing nature of taking on a guardianship role, it’s a good idea to discuss this with those individuals before including them as Guardians in a Will.
Gifts in the Will can be money, jewellery or other special items. If included in a Will, these gifts are legally binding, and will be given before dealing with the residue of the estate.
The residue of an estate, is what is left after all the legacies, expenses of the estate including any Inheritance Tax, have been paid.
The residue can be given to each other, then down to the children, and perhaps provide for grandchildren, particularly in the event of a child predeceasing parents, leaving children of their own.
The only legally binding way for a charity to benefit when someone dies, is to remember them in a Will. This can be a specific legacy, a sum of money. Or it can be a percentage of the estate.
This part of the Will is not legally binding, but simply an expression of wish. Normally it is limited to wishing to be buried or cremated, and it is not necessary to state either way. It is far more important to let your family know what your wishes are, than to include
such wishes in your Will, as families do not always check the Will for details, before making arrangements with the funeral director.
If someone signs a Will before marrying their partner, and does not mention this anticipated marriage in the Will, then the Will is revoked/cancelled by the marriage, and they are back to having no Will and the Intestacy Rules apply.
It is easy for a professional Willwriter to deal with this scenario when drafting a Will, as long as they are told all the circumstances.
This section gives the executors the powers they need, to administer the estate correctly. Sometimes they need to be amended to reflect special requirements.
The end of a Will is very important, as this is a key part of it being valid. The words need to reflect that the person signing the Will, signed it in the presence of two independent witnesses, who stayed together and then also signed in each others presence. This key aspect of a Will, is why many professionals do not send Wills by post for clients to sign.