Estate Planning Essentials: Crafting Your Last Will and Testament

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This is a collaborative post.

Everyone aged 18 and over should write a will. However, it is common for most people to make one after hitting various milestones, such as getting married, having children, or purchasing their first home.

It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 88; you must write a will that clearly outlines how you want your money, property, investments, and belongings to be distributed after you pass away. If you need help crafting your last will and testament, here are some estate planning essentials to consider.

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A Last Will and Testament Template

A last will and testament template can simplify the process. It will provide the correct structure you need to cover various essential estate planning elements that will be legally binding.

For instance, you should look for a template that includes sections for:

  • Assets
  • Beneficiaries
  • Appointing an executor
  • Special instructions
  • Signatures and dates

Alternatively, you can turn to a charitable organisation that can help you write a will for free.

The Estate’s Value

The last thing you will want is for conflict to arise between loved ones after your death. For this reason, you must identify an estate’s value to equally divide your assets between your nearest and dearest.

Start by drawing up a list of your assets, which may include:

  • Properties you own in the UK and abroad
  • Savings
  • Insurance policies, such as life insurance
  • Pension funds
  • Vehicles
  • Financial investments, such as stocks, shares, and bonds
  • Valuable belongings, such as jewellery, artwork, or antiques
  • Household possessions, such as furniture, electronic devices, clothing, etc.

Of course, you must consider any debts you might leave behind, such as:

  • A credit card balance
  • Mortgage or equity release
  • Loans
  • Bank overdraft

Understanding how much your estate is worth will ensure you can divide your possessions fairly among loved ones. Also, it is important to routinely review your assets’ value, as prices for your home, vehicles, or possessions may fluctuate.

The Division of Your Estate

Once you know how much your estate is worth, you must consider how to equally distribute it. Think carefully about who you want to benefit from your last will and testament, such as your children, parents, siblings, or friends.

Some people leave behind one or more specific gifts for their loved ones, such as a meaningful personal possession. Also, it is common for people to leave a legacy gift for a charitable organisation, as they may want to make a difference to others after passing away. If this sounds like something you’d like to add to your will, find out how to leave a legacy to charity. Also, incorporate wishes if any of your beneficiaries should pass away before you, ensuring the right assets go to your loved ones.

You must select an executor for your last will and testament. However, choose a loved one wisely, as they will be responsible for managing your estate after you pass away. You must talk to a potential executor about the process to ensure they feel comfortable taking on the big responsibility.

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