We asked Woman Who Sponsor, Alsters Kelley Solicitors’ Corrine Seabourne, for some top tips that you might wish to consider when making a Will.
Top Tips for consideration when making a Will
Most of the time it is practical to appoint your children to act as the executors of your estates, but in some cases, this may not be appropriate. If your children are minors you need to carefully consider who you would trust to look after and invest their inheritance wisely. Most people look to appoint the Guardians; however, I would always recommend perhaps the Guardians and one other person to retain an independent party within the Trustees. This independent person may then monitor any payments being made to the Guardians for the maintenance, education and support of your children.
If your estate has complex inheritance tax planning, family relations are fractious, or your children do not live locally then an independent party, such as a solicitor may be more appropriate to act.
It is important to carefully consider the role of your executors and the role they will have to fulfil and not just always go for the ‘obvious option’.
More people are incorporating Trusts in their Wills as families evolve and stepchildren become more common in families. Many couples have children from previous marriages and wish to ensure that they are well provided for, whilst making provision for a new partner/spouse.
A Property Trust, protecting half of your property for your children, whilst allowing your partner/spouse full protection to reside in the property is a very popular option. More couples are aiming towards this type of Will that provides flexibility for the partner/spouse and full protection for your children.
Other Trusts that are incorporated into Wills include Discretionary Trusts for beneficiaries who have a disability or are on means tested benefits or do not handle finances in a sensible manner, together with children going through financial difficulties such as bankruptcy or a divorce.
It is important to consider Protective Trusts in your Will. Even with the best intentions, unfortunately sometimes family relationships change and following this, so do their Wills!
One thing most people do not realise is that executors have very limited powers when it comes to the business assets in an estate. In the absence of a correctly drafted Will with additional administrative provisions, the executors have no power to continue running the business but must wind up the business. This may not always be the best solution, especially if the business is not at the most profitable stage it could be, because of a situation such as Covid-19.
It is important to consider if anyone else could run your business (it may be specialised to your skills) and if so, if you would like your executors to have the option to continue or wind up the business. Also consider the Royalties and income and to whom this should be paid.
In my experience one of the things that most families struggle with (if it has never been discussed) is funeral wishes. This is especially important if you have no immediate family. Whilst the specific details of types of service and songs may be included in a side letter, confirming whether you wish to be buried or cremated together with any religious or non-religious beliefs assists the family considerably.
Where possible the preparation of a funeral plan also helps considerably and relieves the pressure of choosing the ‘right coffin and flowers’. This is not something everyone can do, however if you can, it immensely assists your loved ones.
For further information, please contact Corrine Seabourne in the Private Client Department at Alsters Kelley Solicitors
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