Getting a cheap or even free will can be extremely tempting. On the surface, it seems like a very basic task of writing down how you want to divide your assets after your death and signing it. However, there are very specific legal processes that you need to follow for your will to be legally valid. Not following these could open your will up to legal challenges after your death, making the process even more difficult and painful for your loved ones.
The process of making a will
During the process of drafting your will there are a wide range of factors to consider, and failing to take these into account could lead to potential legal issues down the line. These factors include:
- Decide how you want to split your assets: The first and most obvious step of drafting your will. Before beginning the formal process, you should have a clear idea of the people and charities you wish to benefit and how you want them to benefit.
- Choose your executor: The executor of your will has the important job of being the person to follow out the instructions in your will and divide your assets per your instructions. It is therefore very important to choose a trustworthy executor and ensure they are aware of their responsibilities.
- Choose your trustees: If any of your estate is being left to minors you should choose the people who will manage their inheritance until they are adults and ensure the correct flexible trustee provisions are incorporated.
- Have contingency provisions: You will also need to ensure there is no intestacy and have provisions to leave your estate elsewhere if your main beneficiaries have predeceased.
These factors, plus others, are vital to the process of drawing up your will and will need to be detailed in the document. Missing these out, or leaving room for uncertainty, could lead to problems executing your will after your death, potentially costing the people you love the most thousands of pounds alongside a lot of time and stress.
What happens if your will is invalid?
- Your loved ones may not benefit: If your will is invalid your estate may be shared out according to law, rather than what you wished. This means that the people and charities you want to benefit from your estate may not, and people you don’t wish to benefit may be allocated a share.
- You open your beneficiaries up to legal challenges: Leaving the validity of your will in question leaves the beneficiaries open to legal challenges from people who disagree with your will. This means their inheritance could be spent on legal fees defending their right to have it, and they could potentially lose it to the person issuing the challenge.
- Inheritance tax: The amount of inheritance tax due could also be dramatically increased if your will is drawn up incorrectly, placing an increased financial burden on the people you love after your death.
At Slater Heelis, our team of experts has decades of experience in drawing up wills, ensuring all provisions are covered and the potential for problems to occur is minimised. If you wish to speak to one of our expert team you can contact us on: 0161 969 3131 or fill in our contact form.