Making A Will – An Essential Guide For Husbands and Fathers

Making a will is a very important step for husbands and fathers to ensure their family is taken care of after they’re gone. Without a will, it could be that your loved ones aren’t taken care of financially in the best way possible

That’s why it’s considered one of the only ways to guarantee your money, property, and possessions go to the people and causes you care about. Here’s a guide on how to approach this important task:

Why You Need a Will

A will allows you to decide what happens to your estate (including money, property, and possessions) after your death. Without a will, the law decides who gets what, which might not be in line with your wishes. Making a will also helps reduce Inheritance Tax​​.

Writing Your Will

Your will should clearly state who benefits from it, who looks after any children under 18, who sorts out your estate, and what happens if your beneficiaries die before you. If your situation isn’t straightforward, for example, if you share property with someone who isn’t your spouse, or you have property overseas, it’s wise to get advice from a professional​​.

Choosing Executors

Executors are responsible for administering your will after your death. You can appoint relatives, friends, solicitors, or banks as executors. It’s recommended to have at least two executors in case one is unable to act. Executors have significant responsibilities, so ensure they are willing to take on this role​​.

Requirements for a Valid Will

To make sure your will is valid, follow these simple rules:

  • Age and Voluntary Action: You must be 18 or older to make a will. It must be your choice, without pressure from others​​.
  • Mental Capacity: You need to understand what you’re doing when making a will. This means knowing what you have and who might inherit it​​.
  • Written Document: Your will must be in writing. It can’t just be spoken​​.
  • Signatures: You must sign your will in front of two witnesses. Then, they must sign it too, while you watch​​.
  • Witness Restrictions: Your witnesses can’t get anything from your will. If they do, they lose what you left them​​.

Storing Your Will

Once completed, your will should be kept in a safe place. You can store it at home, with your solicitor, at a bank, or with a will storage company. Make sure your executor knows where it is. Keeping your will safe and accessible is crucial for ensuring your wishes are followed​​.

Valuing and Dividing Your Estate

Before you write your will, value your estate by listing your assets and debts. This helps you understand what you have to distribute. Consider who you want to benefit, any specific gifts to individuals, and where the residue of your estate should go after other expenses are paid. It’s also an opportunity to leave a donation to charity, ensuring you include the charity’s full name and registered number in your will​​.

Seeking Professional Help

Although it’s possible to write your will yourself, seeking professional help from a solicitor or a will-writing service is often a better choice. They can help avoid mistakes and ensure your will is valid. Some charities offer free will-writing services, which could be a cost-effective option​​.

Conclusion

Making a will is a key step in ensuring your family is looked after and your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Take the time to consider your estate, decide on your beneficiaries, choose reliable executors, and seek professional advice if necessary. By following these steps, you can provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.