Wills & Trusts
A Will is a document which sets out a person’s wishes in relation to certain matters which are to take effect on his/her death. A Will can be changed at any time during one’s lifetime. The most recent Will should revoke all previous Wills assuming that it is executed in accordance with the statutory rules on the execution of Wills. The person making the Will is referred to as the testator/testatrix, depending on their gender.
Making a Will
It is possible to make a Will now which will be capable of dealing with events in the future, for example a current Will can deal with assets acquired after its making and prior to the death of the testator. It can also take into account certain events for example, the birth of a child. It is important to note that the making of a Will does not limit a testator’s ability to deal with their assets now. A Will is merely a declaration of a testator’s intentions at a point in time and the facts are that an asset left to a beneficiary may have been disposed of during the testator’s life time.
Reasons to make a Will
You can decide on how your
assets are to be distributed, as opposed to assets being distributed according
to the rules of intestacy (rules of law set out in the Succession Act 1965
which deal with the estate of a person who died intestate i.e. without making a
You can appoint executors who you
trust to oversee the administration of your estate.
It is particularly important for
those with minor children to make a Will which sets out who the Guardians of
those children will be in the event that both parents have died, and to create
a trust with the necessary powers to allow both the Executor/Trustees and
Guardians to best take care of those minor children.
There is also the possibility of considerable tax savings to be made. (Please see our Estate Planning section).
What is involved in making a Will?
At its most basic, the person must decide on who they want to appoint the Executors of their Will and who they want to benefit. Obviously, any further detail will depend on the circumstances of the individual and this will have to be discussed with the solicitor. Depending on the assets of the individual, it may involve an element of Estate Planning in order to achieve the most tax efficient way of passing on the assets (Please see our Estate Planning section).
Following on from discussions regarding these matters between the testator and solicitor, the solicitor can draft a Will and forward to the testator for consideration after which amendments, if any, can be made.
The testator must then attend to the execution of the Will, usually at the solicitor's office. The Will must be executed strictly in accordance with the rules set out in the Succession Act 1965 in order to be considered a valid Will.
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