What to consider when writing or updating your Will

Writing a Will is an important step in planning for your future and ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your death.

It can be a daunting task, but with careful consideration and guidance, you can create a Will that reflects your wishes and provides security for your loved ones.

Your assets and liabilities

Make a list of all your assets, including your property, investments, and personal possessions.

Consider any liabilities, such as mortgages or loans, and how they may impact the distribution of your assets.

This information will help you determine how you want your assets to be distributed and who you want to benefit from your Will.

Your beneficiaries

The next thing to consider is who you want to benefit from your Will.

This may include family members, friends, charities, or other organisations.

Think about how you want to divide your assets among your beneficiaries and whether you want to include any specific gifts or bequests.

You may also want to consider setting up trusts or other arrangements to provide for your beneficiaries.

Your executor

Your executor is the person responsible for managing your affairs after your death.

They will ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that any debts or taxes are paid.

It is important to choose an executor who you trust and who has the knowledge and experience to manage your affairs.

You may want to consider appointing a professional executor if your affairs are complex or if you have concerns about appointing a family member or friend.

Guardianship for children

If you have children who are under 18 years old, you may want to consider appointing a guardian to look after them if you die.

It is important to choose someone who you trust and who will provide a stable and loving home for your children.

You may also want to consider setting up a trust to provide for your children’s education and living expenses.

Inheritance Tax

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is a tax that is paid on the value of your estate when you die, if your estate passes certain thresholds.

Currently, with the thresholds that are in place, where a couple pass on their main property to a direct descendant they could hand over up to £1 million tax-free, depending on their circumstances.

It is important to consider the impact of IHT on your estate and how you can reduce your liability.

This may include making gifts during your lifetime, setting up trusts, or making charitable donations.

Regularly updating your Will

Finally, it is important to regularly review and update your Will.

Life changes such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child can have a significant impact on your Will.

It is important to review your Will regularly to ensure that it reflects your current wishes and circumstances.

For help and advice related to private client services, contact Gemma Hughes on gemma.hughes@mackrell.com or at 020 7240 0521.

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Gemma Hughes
Gemma is a Senior Associate and Head of the Private Client Team at Mackrell.Solicitors.  Her practice focuses on estate administration, Wills, trust administration and Court of Protection work.