What you decide to include (or not) in your Will is up to you. You can go into as much detail as you want, or just cover the basics – it is more about making sure your savings and possessions (your estate) go to the people you want it to go to.
Being absolutely clear about who you want to benefit when you die will not only remove any doubt and help avoid any family disputes, but also help your loved ones sort out your affairs at what will be a difficult time for them.
First things first
A good starting point to knowing what and who you might want to include in your Will is to consider the following questions:
- What do you own? Properties, vehicles, savings and investments, jewellery, antiques, furniture, clothes, personal belongings, pets…the list goes on. You need to have a general sense of what you own, but you won’t need to list every item!
- What do you owe? Mortgage, credit cards, loans, equity release, etc.
- Do you have children under 18? If so, you may want to think about appointing guardians for them.
- Who do you want to benefit from your will? Your partner, children, special friends or neighbours, charities, etc.
- Do you have any other special requests? Organ donation or funeral arrangements are things many choose to include.
- Who do you want to appoint as your executors?
The types of gifts you can leave in your Will
You can make specific gifts to particular people or charities and then state where you want everything that’s left over (called the “residue”) to go. Or you could decide to divide everything up into portions, so perhaps give half to your partner and then a quarter each to your two children.
If you have children there are two main areas you may want to include in your will:
- Guardians – if your children are under 18 you will need to choose someone to appoint as their legal guardian.
- The age your children (or grandchildren) should receive any gifts – when they are 18, or deferred until later.
It is important to include the names and addresses of who you have chosen to be your executor or executors. These are the people who will be responsible for making sure your instructions are carried out properly. It is often a good idea to appoint more than one executor to share the responsibility and to cover yourself in case one of them dies before you do.
Knowing what to include in your will can seem daunting but it is not. We’ve given you some things to think about here and when you come to prepare your will with us, we’ll take you through everything step by step, you’ll be surprised at just how easy it is.