Will Estate Planning Checklist
Estate planning is much more than just making a Will. However, to start with, the Will can be useful to ascertain what you are trying to achieve.
A Will provides peace of mind that your estate will pass in accordance with your wishes. A Will allows you to appoint executors, guardians, make gifts and provide for charities, friends, or your Partner if you are not married. A Will can also help to reduce inheritance tax liability. Without a Will your estate will pass under the rules of ‘Intestacy’.
A Will can seem like a daunting process. However, at Welland Valley Legal we will take you through the process of making a Will, help you plan your estate for the future and assess the type of Will that is best for your circumstances.
Estate planning is much more than just making a Will. However, to start with, the Will can be useful
to ascertain what you are trying to achieve.
1. Identify what are trying to achieve
For some people, it is ensuring your loved ones have been provided for. For others, it is about protecting a proportion of your property against care home fees. Some people may want to make the Will in the most tax efficient way too. Business owners often want assurance that the business won’t burden their spouse on death but ensuring the continuation of it until the shares are dealt with. Finally, some people simply want to ensure that when the time comes, the process of probate is the easiest it can be for family members.
2. List of assets
When taking Will instructions, a full list of your assets and liabilities will be required. This is to ascertain your inheritance tax position and can affect what type of Will you have and gifts that are made in it. It is important to plan for these assets and understand how different assets pass dependant on whether they are jointly or solely owned.
3. Decide on your executors
You can appoint up to 4 executors and you can also have replacement executors. Take time to think who you may wish to appoint. It can be an onerous duty on some and if there is any potential conflict, it may be prudent to appoint an independent person such as a solicitor. When taking your Will instructions, full names and addresses will be needed for your appointed executors.
Something that is often underestimated is the importance of appointing a guardian to look after your children should you pass away whilst they are still minors. You will not want social services to decide who looks after them. Take control now to consider and nominate someone to take on that responsibility.
5. Funeral wishes
It is often useful to put in the Will a preference to a cremation or burial so that your Executor’s know your wishes. You may have specific wishes about where you would want to be buried or ashes scattered. You may also wish to consider other preference such as donations to charity over having flowers at the funeral.
Gifts cover two types. The first is specific gifts. These types of gifts are often personal items such as a painting or jewellery. The purpose of these gifts is not to list every item you own but are more for those sentimental items that you wish to go to a specific person. The second type are pecuniary legacies. These are cash gifts to a named person or charity. Lots of people like to leave a small legacy to Grandchildren or a close friend for example. Charities rely hugely on legacies in Wills so if you feel you have an affiliation to a certain charity, it can be a kind gesture to leave a small amount to them.
7. Residuary estate
The final aspect of the Will is about who you would like your estate to pass to. How this is structured in your Will is often dependant on point 1; what you are trying to achieve. However, in the simplest form, you should take time to consider if you are in a relationship, who would get your estate on the first death and then again on the second death. You will want peace of mind that all eventualities have been covered.
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