Most people don’t want to think about what happens when they pass away. That’s a common reaction we get at Forster Dean Solicitors and perfectly understandable. If you die without having made a will, however, it can take your loved ones a lot longer to sort out your estate. That can have an impact on paying funeral costs and greater legal fees.

Putting together a will is a relatively easy process and gives you peace of mind. Here are our top tips for getting it right.

Put Together a List of Beneficiaries

The first thing you need to decide is who you are going to leave your estate to. This can be as simple or as complex as you like. For instance, you may want to leave everything to your partner or you might want to give specific possessions or amounts of money to certain people. You may even want to leave some of your estate to charitable causes.

Work Out What You Have

This can be a lot more difficult than you think. We all collect stuff as we go along in life and it can certainly mount up in terms of value. Most people will have a mix of savings, valuables such as jewellery, property, stock market investments and even a pension if it is one that can transferred to your partner.

How Do You Want to Dispose of Your Estate?

There are several different ways you can do this, including:

  • Giving certain people set amounts of money. This is called a pecuniary bequest.
  • Giving certain items to a paticular person, such as an item of jewellery or an antique. This is called a specific bequest.
  • You can decide to leave something like your property to one person and if they do not survive you then you can give it to someone else. This is a reversionary bequest.
  • You can leave a percentage of your estate to a person. This is a residuary bequest.
  • You can also arrange to have your property left to you wife or husband and then stipulate that, after their death, it passes onto a son or daughter.

Everything depends on how complicated your estate is and what you want to achieve. For simple cases you might just use residuary requests, for example, leaving half your estate to a brother or sister. Complex arrangements may well mean that you use a number of different bequests.

Getting the Right Advice

While there are online will writing services these can be a hit and miss affair. It’s always best to get expert advice and see a legal expert who is experienced in making wills and handling probate.