What NOT to put in your Will

You might have thought about what you’d like to leave in your Will – most of us want to take care of the people we love after we’ve gone. But did you know there are certain things you can’t include in a Will?

When you want to take care of the people you love, getting your Will right is a big responsibility. While you may have considered what you’d like to leave and to whom, have you considered what you cannot include in a Will?

Our guide gives you both sides, as well as some points to consider that you may not have thought of. We hope you find it helpful.

 

What to include in your Will

In a Will, you can leave:

·      Instructions on who inherits your estate

·      Bequests to charities

·      Property, cash and possessions

·      Your business, assuming you are the sole proprietor

It is also possible to:

·      Name a guardian for your children aged under 18

·      Name an executor(s) to administer your estate

·      Setup trusts

 

What NOT to include in your Will

There are things which you cannot leave in a Will. Generally speaking, these include property that you don’t wholly own, for example:

·      Property owned in a joint tenancy

·      Cash and assets in joint accounts

·      Assets which are not legally yours – for example, leased vehicles or possessions under a hire purchase agreement

·      Life insurance

·      Pensions

There are other things you may have thought about including in your will, which you cannot:

·      Leaving assets, cash or property to pets – animals are not legally able to own property

·      You cannot attach conditions to gifts – however, you can encourage the beneficiary to follow a certain course of action. For instance, ‘To my son, for when he buys his first home.’

·      Account details and passwords for your digital estate – if your estate goes through probate, your Will becomes a public record and this information could become available to anyone.

 

Things to watch out for…

Including the below in your Will could cause problems for family members at a distressing time.

·      Foreign property – bear in mind that local laws may differ from those that exist here: your Will may not be automatically valid in the jurisdiction where the property is, in which case the estate could be subject to local intestacy laws.

·      Digital assets – while you might like to leave music, films and other media to friends and family, be aware that it’s not as simple with digital files. The ‘ownership’ of your iTunes library dies with you, for instance.

·      Funeral arrangements – funeral arrangements are likely to be the first thing your next of kin attend to – by the time they have sight of the Will, it will be too late for them to enact your wishes. Speak to loved ones or your executor so they are aware of your preferences or consider a funeral plan, so all is as you wish.

 

Need advice on making a Will?

If you’re worried about getting your Will wrong, help is available. My Family Legacy can help you arrange your affairs exactly as you’d like. If there’s something you’re unsure about, call us on 0117 279 5507 for a confidential chat. It might just put your mind at ease in a few short minutes.  

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