Solicitors are always telling their clients how important it is to have a Will and I am sure most clients would agree. What many clients, however, may fail to understand is that in the vast majority of cases making a Will is simple. Let me guide you through the process.
Step 1. What do you own?
Note down your assets .
Most people’s assets consist of all or a mixture of the following:-
- Your home
- Other property or land
- Cars and other vehicles
- Home contents including furniture and fittings
- Items of particular value e.g. jewellery, art, antiques etc
- Money in banks & building societies
- Shares, Investments, National Savings/Premium Bonds etc
- Insurance and pensions
- Other savings and assets
Next make a list of your current liabilities.
- Your mortgage
- Loans and overdraft
- Your credit cards
- Credit or HP Agreement
- Other liabilities
The value of your estate will be your assets minus any outstanding debts, mortgage, loans etc
Step 2. Who will be the Executor?
Choose who you would like to be your Executor. The Executor is the person or people you want to make your Will happen. This can be a partner, close friend or professional advisor. There is no restriction on an Executor being a beneficiary of your Will.
Step 3. Decide to whom you want to leave your assets
Outline who you would like to receive your property. There is no limit to the number of gifts you can make. Once you have provided for your family, you could also consider making a gift to charity to transform the lives of people in need. There are a number of different types of gifts:-
- Specific : a definite object or property
- Pecuniary : a gift of a particular sum of money
- Residuary : a gift of money or assets left when other legacies and expenses have been paid.
Step 4 : Guardians for young children
If you have children under 16 in Scotland it is advisable to choose a guardian to look after them in the event of both parents dying.
Step 5. Meeting your Solicitor
When you have gathered all the relevant information you should meet with your solicitor to discuss your instructions. If you do not have an Executor your solicitor can arrange this for you. If your estate is large your solicitor will also advise you on Inheritance Tax Planning.
Step 6. Approving your Will
When drafted, your Will will be sent for approval. Any changes can be made at this point. Once you are happy with the document your solicitor will ask you to sign it in the presence of a witness.
Step 7 Keeping your Will Safe
You can keep your Will at home but most people leave their Wills with their solicitor in the firm’s fireproof safe. Normally there is no charge for this. We certainly do not charge.
I have prepared A Will Planner for clients use .
If you wish to have a Will Planner sent to you please contact Jacqui Brown on firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 0141 552 3422.