Some light facts about Wills
Writing a Will is a crucial aspect of estate planning that often remains overlooked, misunderstood, or ignored. Many people mistakenly believe that it’s a task reserved for the elderly or those with substantial assets. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In England and Wales, the process of creating a Will is accessible to everyone, starting as early as the age of 16.
With all of this in mind, here are some facts about Wills:
- Age is No Barrier: Writing a Will at 16
Wills aren’t just for those entering later life. You can write a Will at 18. In fact, you can write a Will at 16. Yes, that’s right – even teenagers have the legal right to create their Will. While most young adults may not possess significant assets, they may have sentimental items or specific wishes they want to address.
For example, a 16-year-old who is on active service could write a Will. Writing a Will at a young age not only ensures your wishes are respected but also offers a valuable lesson in responsible financial planning.
- Beyond Physical Possessions: The True Purpose of a Will
A Will is a legal document that enables you to pass property you own to designated and chosen beneficiaries – the people you want to benefit or inherit. However, Wills aren’t just about physical possessions, property, or cash. They serve a more comprehensive purpose, addressing various aspects of your life and legacy.
a) Guardianship: One vital function of a Will is to designate guardians for your minor children. This ensures that, in the event of your untimely passing, your children will be cared for by someone you trust.
b) Digital Assets: Our online presence is becoming more substantial. Your Will can include instructions for managing your digital assets, such as social media accounts, websites, or online bank accounts.
c) Charitable Giving: If you have specific charities or causes close to your heart, your Will allows you to make provisions for charitable donations, leaving a lasting impact on the causes you support. Without a Will, charities won’t benefit.
d) Funeral Wishes: Your Will can contain details about your funeral or memorial service preferences, providing clarity to your loved ones during a challenging time. It can include funeral song wishes or dress codes etc. (these would technically be included in a letter of wishes).
At Just Wills and Legal Services, we support with all aspects of Will planning.
- The Legal Framework: Wills Act 1837
As estate planning professionals, we work in accordance with the law to draft legally valid documents. One of the key legislations that govern Wills in England and Wales is the Wills Act 1837. This historic law sets out the fundamental requirements for a Will to be legally binding:
a) Testator Capacity: The person making the Will (known as the testator) must be of sound mind, understanding the implications of their decisions. At Just Wills and Legal Services, our team undertake capacity assessments whilst taking your instructions.
b) Signed and Witnessed: The Will must be in writing, signed by the testator (or someone else in their presence and on their behalf if they are unable to sign), and witnessed by at least two people who are not beneficiaries.
In addition to the Wills Act, other laws and regulations influence Will writing and estate planning. It’s crucial to opt for a qualified professional to ensure your Will meets all legal requirements and safeguards your wishes.
In conclusion, writing a Will in England and Wales is a responsibility that transcends age and wealth. It’s a powerful tool for safeguarding your legacy, providing for loved ones, and ensuring that your wishes are respected. Whether you’re 16 or 60, taking the time to create a comprehensive Will is a vital step in responsible financial and estate planning. Don’t delay; start the process today to secure your future and that of your loved ones with Just Wills and Legal Services.
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