Over 90% of England’s population can expect to live until 65 or beyond, but this does not mean we can ignore the prospects of death. As we are all mortal it makes sense for all of us to think ahead and prepare for our eventual demise.
As difficult as this topic may be to discuss, it is certainly worth your time, thinking and planning your departure from this world. This can be especially important if you have dependents or have started to accumulate assets.
Death may signify the end of the person concerned, but not for those that have to deal with the consequences. During this time of grief and shock, they will have to register your death, arrange your funeral, settle outstanding bills and even notify many different organisation. It can be time consuming, frustrating, tiresome and traumatic. That is why is makes sense for us all to put our affairs in order before we pass on, rather than leave a mess for others to sort out.
The will you last made is the only will that has legal authority. However if you have assets outside of the UK, it may be worthwhile having a second will made up in the other country. This will speed up legal proceedings involved in disposing of your foreign assets.
It’s best to get advice from a solicitor in the country concerned or employ a UK based solicitor who understands the law of the country concerned
To save embarrassment of others, it is up to you personally to initiative the discussion and take appropriate action – such as making a will.
Who’s in charge
Your next of kin and your executor(s) are in charge when you die. If you have no will or no close relatives there can sometimes be complications.
Why make a Will?
By making a Will you will ensure that your assets, no matter how small, are distributed in line with your wishes.
Drawing up a will
A will sets out how your estate (your assets) should be distributed, and names an executor(s) to take care of this task. A will is only valid if your signature has been witnessed by 2 adults who are not beneficiaries of the will in anyway.
Using a solicitor
It is a good idea to ask a professional for help when you are writing your will, and it is not very expensive to hire someone for this task.
Keeping the will updated up a will
You need to keep your will regularly updated and ensure that it reflects your latest circumstance and wishes. Remember if it’s not written down then your executor will only be able to carry out the instructions in your last will.
Listing your assets
You need to list any property you own, any outstanding loans or mortgages you have, and give your bank/building society details, insurance policies, investments, Premium Bonds and National Savings etc.
It is important that you consider inheritance tax, especially as the value of many people’s property has risen and it is quite easy to now pass the Inheritance Tax threshold.
Planning your funeral
There is no reason why you should not indicate your funeral arrangement preferences to your next of kin.