Making A Will
The following information is provided to help the public understand why it’s important to make a Will and how they can contact a solicitor to do so.
What if I don’t make a Will?
In the event of your death, those you care about will be burdened by unnecessary worries on top of their bereavement.
There are many questions that must be answered NOW.
Who will look after your children?
Who will feed them, educate them and bring them up as you would?
Who will make the decisions that will affect their future?
Who would you NOT want to dictate your children’s future?
What will happen to those you want to go on living in your home?
Who will get your most valued possessions?
Who would you NOT want to get them?
Will your partner have the use of all that you have built up together?
Will he or she have enough to live on?
These questions MUST be answered sooner or later.
By making a will you can choose who will “wind up” your affairs. You can choose what will happen after your death. You can choose how your family will benefit. Without a will the law makes rules for what will happen and those rules may not suit you.
It is particularly important for separated, divorced and unmarried people to make wills as the law may not distribute your assets in accordance with your wishes.
How do I make a Will?
Although you can make out your own will, there are many complications even in the most simple cases. Many expensive mistakes are made with home-made wills. You may not know it, but there may be taxes to be paid after death. In many cases these can be avoided or greatly reduced by seeking good professional and impartial advice when making a will.
A SOLICITOR will suggest how you can best provide for your family. He will also point out any difficulties that may arise and suggest ways of dealing with these. You make it easier for your solicitor if you bring with you a list of your assets: your house, pension expectations, insurance policies, bank and building society accounts, stocks and shares, etc. You may be suprised at the way it mounts up.
Who should I chose as Executor?
Your executors will have to deal with your financial affairs after your death. You should pick people whom you know and trust. Your husband or wife, reliable friends or relatives would be suitable. Alternatively you could ask your solicitor to deal with this for you. A combination of a member of your family and your solicitor may be sensible.
How much will it cost?
Not as much as you might think. A simple will can be made by a solicitor quite inexpensively. You can make it easier for your solicitor if you bring with you a list of the full names and addresses of those people or charities you wish to benefit. The cost to those you leave behind may be much greater if you do not leave a will.
Think of them. Make a will … it could cost them if you don’t.
Can I change my Will easily?
Yes. Very easily. A simple change like a legacy to a charity or to a favourite niece, nephew or grandchild can be fixed up by a small addition to your will called a “codicil”. If the change is more complicated then the whole will may need to be re-written. But your solicitor can do both these things for you with little trouble. But be careful. Changing a will is just as formal a procedure as making one, and it has to be done properly.
When should I change my Will?
Any will you may have made is cancelled if you get married so you must make a new one then. Divorce will also affect the interpretation of your will. Otherwise you should review your will regularly. Every five years would be sensible. You should also talk to your solicitor if there is any major change in your circumstances; for instance, if you buy a new house, come into money, or start a new business.
Please contact Stewarts Solicitors to discuss the drafting of a new will, trust, or inheritance tax planning. Content care of the Law Society of Northern Ireland 2011