Planning your Will
If you have a small family and want to leave your entire estate to them, writing your will is fairly straightforward. However, if your situation is a little more complicated, you will need to plan more carefully – for example, if you have many people between which you would like your estate to be divided. Either way, don’t keep putting it off. Make sure what you leave behind will go to the people you intended.
Start by thinking about what you would like to leave and to whom, then speak to your family about it. They may have suggestions you haven’t thought of.
Look at the different options for writing your will. The best option depends on how complex your wishes are:
- You can buy a template will document from the store at a small cost if your wishes are uncomplicated.
- A simple will covers the basics. This is perfect for if you have straightforward instructions and a small immediate family to whom you plan on leaving your estate.
- A complex will can cost slightly more and may be more complicated as it is intended for those who have been divorced and have a second family.
- A specialist will is required when trusts or overseas properties are involved, or if you want tax planning advice. Expert to pay a higher fee for one of these documents.
Planning what to leave
Think about the value of your estate and who will get what. Define the basics of your plan before visiting a lawyer or perhaps discuss your will with your loved ones. It’s easier than it sounds!
1. Create a list of who you would like to benefit from your estate – they are called your beneficiaries. You might want to include friends, charities, your husband/wife/partner, children or other family members.
2. Define your assets and write down their values – approximately what are they worth? Start with those that are easiest to predict such as your savings and valuable objects, like family heirlooms and jewelry. Then proceed with assets that have changing values, which are slightly more difficult to estimate, such as:
- Pension (note: whether or not you can include your pension will depend on the regulations of your fund itself – make a point to double check this)
- Your business, if you own one
- Shares, bonds, funds and other stock market investments
- Real estate – your home, along with any investment properties or land you own. Don’t forget to factor in the amount of any debts against your property as well.
3. Finally, think about any sentimental items you want to give to particular individuals.