Do I need a Will?
If you have children and/or own a property, then it’s generally a good idea to write a Will.
If you pass away without a Will in place, your estate automatically follows what’s called the rules of intestacy, which might leave elements of your estate to people you didn’t intend.
Much like life insurance, a Will can also help look after your loved ones. As well as detailing how you want your wealth to be distributed, a Will can also be used to document who you want the guardians of your children to be, should anything happen to you.
Do I have to be over 18 years to write a Will?
Yes, in order to write a valid, legally binding Will you must be over 18 years of age.
Can a beneficiary be under 18?
No, a child under the age of 18 can’t benefit directly from a Will.
The funds would need to go into a trust until the beneficiary turns 18.
If, for example, you think 18 is too young for your children to inherit a large sum of money, you can detail the age in which they can benefit in the Will.
We have written a dedicated article on the life insurance beneficiary rules which may be of interest.
Can I change my Will?
It’s a good idea to check your Will every few years to ensure that it still meets your requirements.
For example, if you’ve divorced, remarried, had more children or lost a loved one, you’ll probably want to change who benefits from your estate.
However, once a Will has been signed and witnessed the only way you can change an existing will is by making an official alteration, (known as a codicil).
A codicil needs to be signed and witnessed just like a Will.
If major changes are required, it’s generally better to simply write a new Will which will supersede your outdated version.
Please note, before you have signed your Will you can make amendments without an issue.
What is a beneficiary of a Will?
The beneficiary of a Will is usually a person, although it can be an organisation, who benefits from a gift given by the person who made the Will (testator).
You don’t need to be related to the beneficiary to name them in your Will.
Is your life insurance part of the estate?
Yes. Unless your life insurance is written in trust it will form part of your estate, (and therefore be subject to inheritance tax).
Writing your life insurance in trust doesn’t cost anything and simply requires you to fill out an application provided by the relevant insurer.
What is an executor of a Will?
An executor is a person who is named in a Will as being responsible for administering your estate.
It’s common for a spouse to be named as the executor, however, it may be a good idea to name a substitute executor, perhaps your solicitor or family member, in case your partner passes away.
Can an executor be a beneficiary?
Yes, a beneficiary can also be an executor of a Will.
Where to store my Will?
It’s very important that your Will is kept somewhere safe and that someone you trust knows where it is stored.
Commonly, a Will is stored with a solicitor or with a specialist Will service provider.
If you choose to keep your Will yourself, it’s important it is stored somewhere safe and ideally fire-safe.
Lastly, you need to write down the details of where your Will is located and share this information with your executors.