What is your Last Will and Testament?

What is your Last Will and Testament?

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A last will and testament, also known as a will is a legal document stating what happens to your estate after you die.

In your will, you outline who receives your belongings and also who will be responsible for dividing up your estate. These people are known as the beneficiaries and the executors. The beneficiaries are those who receive your money, property and possessions. The executors are in charge of dealing with your effects according to what you have written in your will.

Who can write you your last will and testament

As your will is a legal document, it needs to be written and handled in such a way that meets legal requirements.

A lawyer or Legal professional – You can have your will written by a lawyer or solicitor. They have the expertise to guide you in highly complicated cases. The normal cost £200 to £300 and could be up to £500 in more complex cases.

Professional will writing service – At Sovereign Planning. One of our professional will writers contacts you, takes all your details and gives you advice while creating your will. You will receive a draft document to check, and then you will receive your completed document in the post with all of your wishes. Currently, the cost of this is £47 for a single simple will and you will get the peace of mind you have a valid legal document. For more information on our will writing service click here

DIY Wills – You can write your will yourself. There are template documents you can purchase for around £30. You complete the document yourself and then keep it. It is advisable to have it checked by a legal professional to ensure it is valid and it has the effect you want. If there is an error in the document, it can make your will invalid. After you die, this could become very costly in both time and money. If you decide to make your own will, it’s best to seek advice first. 

Why it is essential to make your last will and testament

It is important to make a will even if you don’t think you have a lot of money or possessions to pass on.

If you pass away without a will, certain rules dictate how your money, property, and possessions are allocated. This may not be the way you would like it done. You can find out more information on the government website.

Some important reasons to create a will are:

  • Partners who are not married and not in a civil-partnership cannot inherit from each other unless there is a will. For example, you have lived with a partner for 20 years without marrying, you are not legally entitled to their property, money or belongings.
  • By taking advice while creating your will it could be possible to decrease the amount of inheritance tax payable.

  • If you have children, it is good to make a will to ensure arrangements are made in the case that one or both parents die.

  • If your circumstances have changed, for example, you have stepchildren or have divorced, you may want to change your wishes. Also, if you marry, a new will need to be created as the marriage will make and existing wills invalid.

What your last will and testament should include

Your will should outline what money and possessions you have and how you would like them to be distributed. If you have specific items to leave to certain beneficiaries, we would advise including a letter of wishes.

You need to specify everyone (or charities) you would like to leave your estate to and what portion you would like to leave them.

You need to include all your property and possessions. These could be bank accounts, savings, property, businesses, pensions, cars insurance policies and shares.

Your will should also specify who should look after any children under the age of 18.

The last thing you include in your will is the executors, for more information about executors see our blog.

What’s the best way to ensure you have a valid will

When you have your will document, it is essential to have it signed by two independent witnesses (who are not beneficiaries). It must also be kept in a safe place as only the original document is valid. No copies.

The best way is to have it written by a professional will writing service or legal representative. This will ensure it meets all the legal requirements. At Sovereign Planning we can help you with this from just £47. Contact us today to find out more.

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