Wills are important whatever you have to leave

by Sarah Ashcroft

Making a will is not just about determining who gets to keep money it is also used to outline your wishes for the future.

A last will and testament is also used to appoint a guardian for children under the age of 18 and make sure that anything left to vulnerable or disabled beneficiaries is protected for their lifetime.

It is worth remembering that when an unmarried couple have children, if the man dies the woman will automatically become the legal guardian of the offspring.

However, this right is not automatic if an unmarried woman dies, leaving her male partner and children.

One of the main misconceptions about writing a will is that you need to have assets or money for it to be worthwhile but this is not the case.

Indeed, it is possible that small items such as trinkets or personal effects carry such a significant sentimental value that may be more important to beneficiaries than any amount of money.

Laying down who you want to receive these items means there is less chance of arguments when it comes to splitting possessions.

However, many people can also forget that it is important to name an executor for your will so that they can manage your estate and see that assets are distributed properly.

You need to give this plenty of thought as an executor is in charge of your entire estate so needs to be trustworthy and able to manage the complexities that arise from estate administration.

While friends and family can seem like the ideal choice, it is also worth considering someone independent, as they can provide a useful go between if the loss of a loved one leads to tensions in the family.

Finally, although it sounds obvious, make sure you sign your will in front of two witnesses. It is all very well drafting up a will but if it is not signed then there is no guarantee that your wishes will be carried out.

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Published on: July 26, 2012

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