You should list and consider the following:
Your Will is only valid if it is correctly signed and witnessed. The witnesses must be two independent people (i.e. they should have nothing to gain from Will). This means witnesses should not be related to you or likely to benefit in any way from your Will.
The witnesses must be assembled together and watch you sign the Will.You and each of them should watch the other witness sign immediately after you. Special witnessing provisions are made for the visually impaired.
For your ease of mind, we can act as your witnesses.
We recommend that you retain the original Will for your safe keeping and let your Executors know of its whereabouts.
Provided you have the basic rules of clearly setting out your wishes and executing the document correctly, you can draft your own Will. Obviously this means that there is a risk that the Will is not accurate or executed correctly and you will not have had the benefit of considering tax planning.
You can also purchase pre-printed Wills from some major stationers with instructions on execution.
For peace of mind, most people seek help from a Solicitor. Remember:
Wills do not need to be drafted in complicated language. We aim to use simple English wherever possible. It is your Will and your intentions and if you cannot understand what your Will says you should not sign it.
However legal documents do use specialist words which carry legal definitions and words used in Will drafting is no exception. We have set out some words you may come across when instructing solicitors to prepare your Will to help you understand the legal terminology often used:
Where you have not made a Will the person who collects and distributes your wealth and possessions is known as the Administrator. This is often a close relative who volunteers to administer the estate
The person or persons who receive the benefits from your Will.
A separate legal document making a change to an existing Will, which must be signed in the same way as a Will and though kept with the original Will should not be stapled, pinned or paperclipped to the original Will.
The total of what your wealth and possessions are on your death.
The people named in a Will to look after your estate as per your direction in the Will. This can be as few as one and as many as four. They also act as your Trustees.
The amount of money left in your Will.
A specific item/possession left in your Will.
Someone who dies without having made a Will.
The formal procedure used to verify the Will, record the people administering it and giving authority to distribute your estate.
What is left of your estate after payment of debts, expenses and specific legacies etc.
The legal term used for the person making the Will.
We list some of the reasons why you may need to make a new Will.
If you would like to instruct us to make your Will or simply just to obtain advice, please contact Ash Sanger or Esther Watton on 0845-2171377, Ash Sanger is a Director and a Solicitor of England and Wales.
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