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10 things to do to properly secure the future of your loved ones

LilyKing

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Everybody wants to make sure that their loved ones will be well taken care of after they pass away, and that their assets will be passed on to those they most wish to see inherit them.

There are two ways to ensure these things happen:

1.      Will

Having a legal declaration of how you wish to dispose of your assets after your death is one of the best ways to take care of your loved ones. To draw a good will you will need to state a few important things;

Identity: you will need to clearly identify yourself in the will.

Executor and alternate appointment: a legally valid will must have an individual or institution appointed to be its executor. An alternate is the next individual or institution that can legally execute the will if the initial executor dies, is unable to accept responsibility, or is unwilling to undertake the said task.

Beneficiaries: the will must have concise information on how and what every heir gets and additional clauses in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Witnesses: to make sure the will has a legal bearing and for authenticity purposes, it must be written in the presence of 2 or more witnesses. The witnesses’ credibility should not be questionable.

Failing to get your will written while you are still alive and of sound mind will force the state to appoint and direct administration of the property under the provision of succession law.

2.      Trusts

The main intention behind trusts is to outlive their creator, and continue administering the creators wishes in the following ways;

Preserving assets: allows income use and at the same time preserves the capital assets.

Continuity of capital: the essence of capital continuity is to have income flowing as long as the assets in question are preserved.

Heir support: beneficiaries of a trust are provided for as long as the trust creator wishes. They can even be supported for life.

Key elements to consider before writing the will

Knowing the benefits of a will is equally important to knowing what to put in your will otherwise you may overlook essential steps that may affect your loved ones’ future. To avoid making mistakes if you are writing your own will, it is advisable to use a will kit which will guide you every step of the way.

Some of the issues addressed in the will kit are:

Guardianship

Making sure that your minor children have the correct people to take care of them if you should die before they reach adulthood is very important. To choose the best guardian you should consider;

  • Similarities in lifestyle, parenting style, religion, and values – they should be a close fit to yours
  • How they bond with your children
  • The nominees’ view on children (if they want to have children or not) to make sure you don’t disrupt their future life plans
  • Physical, emotional and financial capability of the nominee
  • How the transition will be conducted in terms of location and lifestyle changes for the children

Write down your wishes for how you would like the children taken care of including details about education, access to money etc. These details can be kept together with the will for guardians to access.

Assets

Make a list of all assets you own with their respective estimated value and also indicate if they have loans or mortgages attached to them. You must also know the whereabouts of property titles and deeds to make it easier for authenticity and distribution.

Cherished assets

These are assets that may be of less monetary value but great emotional, intrinsic, or personal value, and are sometimes overlooked. If you want to hand down a family heirloom or other symbolic assets you will need to make a declaration in the will.

The executor

An executor’s role is one of the most important steps in having your will administered and therefore means that you must be careful when picking an executor. You must do due diligence to understand the role the executor plays and inform them as well before you name them as executors of your will. Whether an individual or institution, they must be willing to spend a considerable amount of time in this role and be responsible enough to carry out intended duties. A beneficially may be a good candidate because they have motivation to see the process through. However, do not have a family member or beneficially named as executor if it may cause conflict between them and other members of the family.

Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries can be anyone you wish to bequeath a part of your assets to.  They can be friends, family, colleagues or charities. To be fair and just you may divide the property or estate as residuary – meaning whatever remains after payment of debts and funeral expenses. Beneficially shares after repayment are expressed as a percentage of the residuary.

Beneficiaries below legal age can have their shares held in trust or entrusted to an adult until they are of age. Sometimes you can have their inheritance held by state or trust until a desired age that you pick for your own reasons.

Charities

As a testator you have the right to give a portion of your estate to a charity of your choice as a gesture to acknowledge their work or as a gesture of gratitude for assisting in some way. If you intend to leave money or estate to a charity, be sure to clearly indicate which one and its location and the department in cases where the institution is big. If you have been donating to the charity, bring relevant documents to be kept together with the will to simplify execution.

Complex situations

There are so many complexities that may arise but it is important to try and tackle every possible complexity. For example;

  • Providing for a special needs beneficiary
  • Excluding somebody who is expecting to be in the will
  • Being a company owner
  • Handling a superannuation fund
  • Family complexities like divorce and remarriage, birth of a child who has not lived with you or whom your other family members do not know about, adoption etc.

These circumstances must be addressed in the will and regularly updated when a life event happens. Use concise terms to avoid having different people trying to interpret the will to fit their own needs.

Power of Attorney

Do not forget to appoint someone trustworthy to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.

Funeral instructions

Although the will is executed after burial, making sure your executor or lawyer is aware of the inclusion in the will of funeral instructions helps you have your desired type of burial. You can put the instructions in the will or attach them to the will. Your loved ones will rest easy knowing that they gave you the funeral you wanted.

Accountant details

Your accountant or financial planner will be needed to give account details after your demise. To save family and friends the trouble, include their contact information in the will.

 

Taking care of your loved ones after your death comes down to having a good and legally valid will, that protects them and at the same time protects the assets. The above pointers will help you come up with a way to ensure everyone is well taken care of and your wishes are clearly understood.

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Health

5 steps to making a legally valid Will

LilyKing

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Writing a will is one of the most important jobs you will do in your lifetime. Getting it right is essential, as making a mistake or not following the correct procedure can lead to your will being declared invalid. If your will is declared invalid after your death there is obviously nothing you can do to rectify the situation and your loved ones may be left with nothing or having to battle in lengthy court battles to get what they would automatically have been gifted if your will had been written correctly and was legally valid.

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It is therefore very important to be cautious and make sure that the inheritance you wish to leave ends up in the right hands. It is perfectly legal to write your own will. However, if you do choose this option rather than paying for a solicitor to write your will for you, you are well-advised to follow certain guidelines that will assist you in getting the legal terminology and procedure correct. In this article, we are going to focus on the key ways to ensure you end up with a legally valid will.

 

The 5 golden rules in making a legal will

 

1.      Confirm if you are eligible to write a will

 

A will must be made by a person capable of disposing of their property; that is, they must be at least 18 years old, they must be of sound mind and they must be making the will voluntarily.

 

Those who have some mental incapacity cannot write a will. You should not  execute the writing of a will under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In the event that an incapable person grants a will, it can be annulled by a judge, once the disability is proven.

 

   2. Ensure you follow and adhere to the requirements

 

Initially, there are certain requirements with which you must comply obligatorily. If you plan on writing your will yourself, there are guiding materials that will help you in executing your will. It is recommended that you download a will writing template that will make it even easier and clearer to do this and will help you avoid mistakes. Some of the main requirements to include are;

  • Full name
  • Full name of the parents of the testator (testator: person making the will)
  • An indication of your civil status (single or married)
  • Full name of your spouse (if applicable)
  • Full name of any children (if applicable)
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation
  • Nationality
  • Age
  • An official identification or passport
  • National Insurance number(NI)
  • Address

 

Remember that this is a very important legal document and you therefore need to give the correct details at every step. Mistakes can invalidate your will and mean it has no legal standing after your death.

 

 

       3. Decide on the type of will you want to execute

 

There are 2 methods that you can choose from when you are writing your own will.

 

Handwritten will

 

If you want to proceed with a handwritten will (also know as a holographic will), ensure that you go an extra mile to make it valid.  In order for a handwritten will to be valid and for your estate to be distributed according to your instructions as laid out in the will, a few basic criteria must be met. First, the entire will must be handwritten by the testator himself. A testator cannot use a form with blanks to fill and call it a holographic testament. As seen above, the testator must also be in the right mental capacity to execute the will.

 

 

Do-it-yourself will

 

It is now easier than ever to write a detailed will without the expertise of a lawyer. For example, you can use an online will writing template that asks you certain questions that you simply answer. Then, you can simply print your will and have it witnessed and notarised according to the law. Of course, you can also write your will and have a lawyer review it, which may be important in certain circumstances.

 

       4. Ask a solicitor to review your will

 

Although holographic and do-it-yourself wills are legally acceptable options, you should know when to seek the help of a lawyer. For example, if you have assets that you estimate will be more worth than one million pounds when you die, then it is important to seek the advice of an estate planning lawyer who can help you legally avoid high taxes in this regard. Similarly, if your family make-up is complex, and you have children from more than one relationship, or step children and a new spouse for example, then it is important to talk to a lawyer who can ensure that your intentions are met and all eventualities are considered and planned for. If you have any doubts about the contents of your will or its validity, then it is advisable that you seek the advice of a lawyer.

 

If you decide to seek the help of a lawyer, you can save money on the legal fees by writing the will yourself and having the lawyer review it instead of taking the lawyer’s time up interviewing you and writing the will for you.

 

Writing your own will can save you a lot of hassle and money. However, ensure that the process you chose offers a good online will writing template, a do-it-yourself will kit, or follow all the rules applicable to handwritten wills so that your wishes are fulfilled in the event of your death.

 

          5. Your will should be kept well and in safe hands

 

The laws of inheritance dictate that once a will is granted and signed by a solicitor, they should give a copy to the testator. The original copy of the will is usually guarded by the solicitor.

In order for your assets to be distributed according to your wishes at the time of your death, it is very important that you have a legally valid will. Although in past years it was customary to go to see a solicitor when the time came to make a will, things have been made considerably easier with the ease of access to online information, guidelines and templates. By ensuring your will adheres to all the legal requirements, you can protect your loved ones from unnecessary distress and conflict in the event of your death so it’s a job worth getting right.

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Legal

Will Storage Do’s and Don’ts To Ensure You’re Not Turning In Your Grave

LilyKing

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Storing your will is as important as having your will written. There is very little point in writing and planning a will if you don’t plan how you will store and keep it safe.

Your will is a written legal document which bears instructions entailing your wishes on the disposal of your funds and assets after your death. It is therefore extremely important that when writing your will, you give thought to your solicitor or executor’s accessibility to the will after your death. If for any reason, your will becomes accidentally damaged, lost or becomes otherwise inaccessible to your executor, then it is as bad as not having written a will in the first place.

A lot of people question whether their will can be stored at home. The simple answer is yes, you can store your will at home as long as it is stored in a safe spot. However, if your will storage spot or safe requires a password or key for access, it’s best advised that you share such details with a trusted person such as your spouse, your grown children or of course, your solicitor.

Regardless, there are certain do’s and don’ts to consider when considering how to store your will. Here are some of the things to be on the lookout for when making plans for your will storage:
Don’ts of will storage
● Do not store your will in a bank deposit vault
Yes, some banks in the UK offer a will storage service and most people feel it is the safest place to store their will. However, it is not advisable to store your will in a bank. When you die, your bank safety vaults are not accessible to anyone until it is confirmed who the executor of the will is and they have been given probate permission from the court.

Probate permission cannot be granted without documented confirmation of who the will executor is, as named in the will. Hence, a copy of the will is needed before any access can be granted and you are stuck in a Catch 22 situation. It is best to ensure that your will can be accessed even without the consent or permission of the probate court.
● Do not keep your will in a permanently inaccessible home safe
There’s really no point storing your will in a secret or locked spot that cannot be freely accessed by anyone else but you. You want to feel reassured that your executors can gain easy access to your will after your passing. Always therefore ensure they one or two persons are knowledgeable about how to gain access to your home safe if this is where you plan to store your will.
● Do not attach other documents to your will.
Using staples, paperclips, perforators or anything else to attach other documents to your will can raise some serious issues. Questions as to whether a part of the will is missing or whether maybe an amendment has been made can be raised which can create difficulties for the executor. A witness may then be needed to attest to whether the provided will document is the authentic one.
Do’s of will storage.
While there isn’t a particular spot or location mandated by law to store your will, here are some of the options you should consider:

● Involve a solicitor
If you involve a solicitor in writing your will, they will usually offer to take care of the original copy of the will free of charge for you, while an extra copy is given to you for personal safekeeping. However, if you haven’t involved a solicitor in writing your will for you, they can still provide you a will storage service but probably not without a fee. The option of storing your will with a solicitor is a safe option as they have a full comprehension of the strict legal principles involved with storing a will, and will take the obligation very seriously.
● Engage a will writing service and let them store it for you
If you allow a will writing service to write your will for you, they will most often take on the responsibility of storing it for you but at an extra charge. More often than not, a will writing service is less expensive than paying for the services of a solicitor but ensure the will writing service provider confirm the full expenses of their storage options before committing, as you don’t want to be hit by any hidden charges further down the line. Also, be sure to ask what happens to your will if it gets damaged or if the company goes out of business before your death. Most importantly, always ask to keep an additional copy for yourself.

● Involve the Probate Service:
If you live in England and Wales, you are perfectly entitled to store your will with the probate service. They provide a service to store your will for you once you officially lodge it with them. The probate service stores wills for safekeeping at the Principal Probate Registry in London. The whole process is relatively easy and excellently secure.

However, it is important to understand that this service is not free. There is a flat rate charge of £20. It also has to be mentioned that the tricky part of storing your will with the probate service is the fact that only you can make official requests to take back your will. It is extremely difficult for your solicitor or executor to claim your will for your after your demise.

In all of these options, it is clear and important to note that however and wherever you may decide to store your will, ensure that your executor, solicitor or trusted members of your family know where you have stored your will and have full access to it. An inaccessible will is the same as having not written a will at all. It is very important therefore to ensure your will is safe, accessible and properly stored.

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You can actually make your will online – here’s how

LilyKing

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Understanding The Elements of a Will

When making a will, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the different elements and legal terms which go together to make a will legally valid.

A will refers to a legal document in which an individual, otherwise known as a Testator, expresses his or her wishes regarding how they want their assets to be distributed when they die. Assets just means everything you own which will need to be redistributed when you die. It could mean money and land and houses, but also your smaller items of property such as books, jewellery and even photos and diaries.

Usually, the subject names one or more individuals as the Executor of the will. The executor refers to the person (or persons) who are responsible for ensuring the testator’s wishes are carried out after their death.  It’ll be up to the individual you’ve appointed to follow your instructions to the letter.

The will should have a record of every detail regarding how you want your property to be shared among your beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are simply those people who will benefit from your will in some way or other. You can name whomever you wish to be your beneficiaries. Most people pass their assets to their spouse, children and other close family, but some people choose others including charities and organisations to benefit from their will.

Why Write a Will

Most people – two thirds of people in the UK in fact – don’t have a will. Perhaps they consider it complicated to arrange, or they don’t feel they have assets worth enough to make a will necessary. More often than not, people put off writing a will because they worry about the costs involved. All of those fears are in fact unfounded.

Writing a will – no matter how small or large your assets are – is one of the most important jobs you will do in your lifetime. Think of how much peace of mind it would give you to know that your loved ones will be well taken care of after your death and that your assets will be going to those whom you know will appreciate them and understand how loved it meant they were by you.

Creating a will has become far easier with the advent of technology and the use of online will writing services. You can now create legal documents promptly and easily, and without any of the expense that used to be involved in paying a solicitor to write your will for you.

Are Online Wills Legal?

Absolutely. It is perfectly legal to take advantage of the many services that help you create a will online. Such websites provide an online will maker who can guide the user to a tailored, finished product, by asking questions and presenting the various options available. The answers to these questions are keyed into a template and enable the will writer to ensure your will is written in the legal way and with your wishes at its heart. Some websites provide forms and step-by-step guidelines so that you can fill out your will on your own, without input from anyone else. Others offer a DIY template which can be downloaded to your computer.

Are Such Wills Different from the Conventional Ones?

Only in the sense of how they have been made. An online will has the same content and legal weight as a will written in a solicitor’s office with you present. This is as long as the will you’ve created complies with the law and is signed and witnessed in the correct way.

Breaking Down the Process of Creating A Will Online

  • Step 1

Create and write the introduction to your will. You should begin with the sentence “This is the Last Will and Testament of….”,  followed by your full name as well as the address you’re currently using. You also need to testify that you’re of age and are of sound mind. It’s crucial to state that you’re not making the will under any duress. At the end of the first step, you should state that it’s your last will and that it revokes any will that was previously made. If you’re using software, the program will generate the introductory section for you.

  • Step 2

As earlier discussed, you will need an Executor. This person will oversee the implementation of your will. It could be a close friend or a trusted family member. Meet this individual and discuss their willingness to be responsible for execution when you die however, before naming them. Then, if they agree, name them as such in your will. It’s important to select an alternate executor too, in case your first choice is unwilling and unable to perform their duties when the time comes.

  • Step 3

In this step, you should identify your Beneficiaries. This could be your spouse, children, or life partner. You can make additional provisions for other individuals. Ensure you identify these people clearly with their full names so that there is no confusion regarding their identities. The names of the beneficiaries must appear on your online portal.

  • Step 4

In this step, you should name a guardian for your minor children, if you have any. If you have young children who still need guardianship, choose someone who you feel will be able to take good care of all the children’s needs and is close in terms of beliefs, philosophy and attitude to yourself. Discuss the responsibility of the role with those you wish to nominate before naming them.

  • Step 5

Even though you’re creating your will online, you need to have all the details ready thought-out and prepared. As such, you should assess the value of your property and divide it. List all your assets including bank accounts, stocks, tangible assets, bonds, and real estate. Then decide how you wish to split them amongst your beneficiaries. For instance, you can allocate 50 percent to your spouse and 25 percent each to your children. Or you may also make individual gifts of different properties to be allocated to your beneficiaries. The choice is entirely yours but again, it is advisable to discuss your decisions with your beneficiaries if you think any of your decisions may cause confusion or distress after your death.

  • Step 6

Have your will witnessed. This is very important or your will won’t be legally valid and could be challenged or nullified after your death. The online will service will have a signing portal. You will be required to have at least two witnesses sign the will, and witness each other sign it. Usually, they should not be the beneficiaries of the will.

In summary, online will making is a great idea for individuals whose properties are below the estate tax limits. It is also great for individuals who have a straightforward estate. If you have an estate that could be subject to large amounts of tax however, or complicated family arrangements, you should consult a lawyer. Otherwise, take advantage of the online will services that are available and give yourself peace of mind knowing that this important task is taken care of.

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