How to Write the Perfect Will

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Sometimes, important steps in your life aren’t the most pleasant to engage with and writing your will might be one of them. It’s not something people like to think about, but having documents put in place to organized your affairs is important for your family’s future. A will gives you peace of mind that the right people are going to receive the right assets from you in the far future.

Disclosure: This is a guest post from another author concerning a legal topic. Please review any information presented here with your own legal counsel as many laws pertaining to estates and wills vary based on where you live.

If you don’t have a will, there can be additional costs, family confusion and unsettled problems. Your family is going through a sad time and not having a will can cause extra stress. If you attend to the matter early on and organised your affairs correctly, you won’t have to think about it anymore and it won’t be at the back of your mind, here are some tips on how to write the perfect will and answers to some questions you might have, so you can just get it out of the way!

Who Writes it?

Creating a will isn’t as simple as putting pen to paper and telling people what they are receiving, not considering every asset and potentially missing something out can lead to financial penalties or extra taxes needing to be paid. Paying will-writing solicitors may seem unnecessary but if you have a lot of assets, it’s worth considering. They will make sure everyone receives what you have requested and money won’t be lost to taxes or other payments, they can also offer advice and help execute the will. It’s worth paying a professional but if you think that your assets might not be worth the hassle, there is online software to consider that can help organize everything for you and offer explanations to different issues to address.

Selecting Beneficiaries

When the times comes for your will to become of use, family and friend will be given your property, money and any other contents you own. Before you discuss who is receiving what with your solicitor, it’s worth making a personal draft of what possessions you would like to go to which people. It really helps with remembering everything and you can take your time with it as you wonder the house and make decisions. The draft helps avoid making quick decisions and means you’re less likely to forget to include any property or people, meaning there will be no complications in the future.

woman signing a will with a black penPicking Someone to Execute the Will

This person will ensure your will is correctly fulfilled, picking someone up to the task is crucial. Picking close family isn’t always the best idea, if you pick one of your children and they don’t get along with their siblings, this can be a major problem in the distribution phase of the will. You can pick a long-term friend with unbiased or even a neutral party like the bank or solicitor. Mistakes can occur during this phase so paying a professional might be the best idea if you’re not confident with a loved one, remember it’s going to be a tough time for whoever you pick so consider someone confident.

Compensation for the Executor

If you opted to pay a professional to execute your will they usually take 2%-4% of the overall worth as their fee. If you choose to use a family member or friend then considering additional compensation to them is wise. Fulfilling your will can be a timely ordeal and a lot of work may need to go into it if they’re selling the house for example. Giving them a little extra can make the process fairer from their perspective.

Selecting a Guardian for Children

Although it’s unwise, you don’t need permission to select who will look after your children. However, the people you select to be guardians can refuse the commitment, asking for their thoughts on it is a good idea so you know where your children will go. Some people find it to be an intense subject to bring up but most family and friends will know you’re only asking in the interest of your children’s future, most parents usually know who would be fit to take on the role.

Detail is Key

Might be an obvious point but stating every important item and who you would like to have it is essential, sadly you can’t assume that the right people will receive your content unless you state each item. It might seem negative, but you can also state if you wouldn’t like someone to receive certain items or anything at all. You might feel that throughout the years one of your children has received a lot more from you and this would be a good way to even it out toward your other children, there’s the ability to explain your justifications in the will too, so it doesn’t seem like you’ve done it to spite someone.

hand signing a legal document on top of a deskAttach a Letter

The will is an official legal document and you can’t use it to express personal feelings. You do have the option to attach a letter to it though, the letter can offer pleasant memories to individuals, jokes to lighten the mood or anything else you feel needs to be said. If you feel it’s too early to write a letter you can always come back to it.

Signing the Will

Once you have finalized the details of your will, you’ll need witnesses to confirm you have created the will and sign it. Two or three witnesses are usually required and they need to be over 18 to sign, you should consider people who will likely be around when you are not. The witnesses aren’t likely to be used, but if there is any disagreement that escalates to court, they will need to testify.

Keeping it Safe

After you have completed the will you’ll need to store it somewhere secure, a fireproof safe in the home is usually a good idea. Mentioning where you keep it to a few people is also wise, it will make things run smoother if its ever required.

It can be tough to commit to creating a will and thinking about the worst, but once you have completed it you won’t need to think about it again unless new people enter your life and you want to share your possessions with them.

Bio: Richard Meadow is a writer that works on topics in relation to employment, business operations and power of attorney solicitors. He is always interested in new subjects and articles to read and enjoys writing about them.

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