Like all legal documents, your will must meet certain requirements.
When writing your “last will and testament”, it’s important to make sure you are creating a legal document that meets all the criteria of a legally-binding will. When in doubt, seek advice from a will writing professional such as a lawyer.
- Firstly, a will must be signed and witnessed to be valid. You must have two witnesses who can’t be beneficiaries or be married to a beneficiary.
- If your circumstances change – perhaps selling a business or having a child – you will need to update your will. These changes also need to be signed and witnessed.
- If you marry, any previous will you have made will usually be invalid, so you must make a new one. Remember, unmarried partners don’t automatically inherit, and stepchildren won’t automatically be included in provisions for ‘children’.
- If you are excluding a close family member, make it clear why you are doing this and what you want done with the money. If your reasons aren’t clear the individual could contest your will in the courts.
You should name at least two executors to sort out your financial affairs after you die. Executors can be beneficiaries, such as relatives or friends, or you could appoint a solicitor instead. If you don’t do this the probate court will appoint an executor on your behalf.
If you’d like to discuss your individual circumstances and get some impartial advice on estate planning and inheritance tax from a reputable advisor, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to review your current provisions.
This article is for general information purposes only. Please speak to a will writing professional for advice.