I come across a lot of people who put off writing their will for various reasons. I have heard all sorts of excuses including waiting for a major change in your finances or not wanting to think about it because it is too morbid. However, planning for the future is essential, and writing a will is an important part of that process to ensure that your wishes are carried out. Here are five key tips to consider when writing your will.
1. Get started early
One of the most important tips when writing your will is to start early. No one knows when their time will come, and it’s better to have a plan in place sooner rather than later. Writing your will early also gives you the time to consider your options and make informed decisions about how you want your assets to be distributed.
2. Do not be afraid to update it regularly
Your life circumstances will change over time, and your will should be considered a living document to reflect those changes. It is essential to update your will regularly to ensure that it accurately reflects your current wishes. Major life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the death of a loved one may require updates to your will.
3. Seek expert advice
Writing a will can be complicated, especially for high net worth individuals or those with blended families. It is essential to seek expert advice to ensure that your will is legally sound and that your wishes are carried out. A solicitor can provide guidance on the legal requirements, and your financial planner can advise you on any tax implications to be considered in the context of your wider circumstances.
4. Choose your executors wisely
An executor is the person responsible for administering your estate after your death. This involves managing your assets, paying off any debts, and distributing your assets according to your wishes. It’s crucial to choose someone you trust to be your executor.
They should be responsible, reliable, and able to carry out your wishes effectively, but they should also ideally be younger than you to maximise the chance of them being around to fulfil their duties.
5. Consider using a letter of wishes
A letter of wishes is a document that accompanies your will and provides guidance on how you want your assets to be distributed. It can help your executor understand your wishes and ensure that they are carried out. A letter of wishes can also provide additional information about your assets, such as sentimental items or family heirlooms.
Crucially, a letter of wishes is not a legally binding document. It can be updated as often as you like and there is no need to have it witnessed each time. The latest version should be stored with your will.
To sum up, writing a will is an essential part of planning for the future, and my key tip is not to put it off altogether. Do reach out to me or your financial planner to get started. Remember, a will is not just a document; it’s a plan for the future that provides peace of mind and security for your loved ones.