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I don't need to make a will!

Everyone has something which will be left following their death, even if it is only their car or some jewelry. In the twenty years I have been doing this job I have never had a client walk out of my office after signing their will and get run over by a bus. Wills do not have to be complicated. It is the job of a lawyer to understand your wishes and the legal rules and explain these to a way to you that makes sense. A will does not have to take a long time to complete. We can take instructions, draft documents and get them signed within an hour if that is what you wish! So, in all honesty there is no reason not to make a will!!

Here are some essential reasons to make a will:-

• to avoid your assets being distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules which could mean, for instance, your spouse not inheriting all of your estate • to ensure that those you wish to inherit your assets on your death actually get them • to nominate executors of your choice to deal with the distribution of your estate in the certain knowledge that they will comply with your wishes • to nominate your preferred guardians of your children to avoid disagreements or family upsets • make small personal gifts • to take advantage of tax saving strategies

Here are some specific personal reasons to make a will:-

• to explain why a possible beneficiary is being excluded • to ensure the continuation of a family business • to ensure that 'first' and 'second' families are treated fairly • to reflect lifetime rearrangement of assets • to give specific guidance to executors You will need to give some thought to making your will before you do so have a think about the following:- Funeral arrangements You can specify whether you want your body buried or cremated. You can also state whether you are willing for your body to be used for medical research. You may have other particular wishes to be recorded here so make sure you take the opportunity to let your family know what you want. Me, I want my ashes to explode in a colourful firework once I am gone. Executors This is the person you appoint to safeguard your possessions, pay debts and ensure your instructions in the Will are carried out. An executor can be anyone, even a beneficiary, over 18 years of age. If you are leaving everything to one person, it is usually convenient to make them the only executor. With more complicated estates, and particularly where children are involved, it is advisable to have at least two executors but more can be unwieldy when decisions have to be made. In some cases it may preferable to appoint professional executors.

Guardians If you are the surviving parent dies before you it will be necessary to appoint someone for the day-to-day care of your children who are under 18 years of age. You can appoint more than one person to act as guardian but you need to work out the rules ie who will your children live with, what role should a guardian have who does not have children living with them. Legacies You can leave monetary gifts or items to individuals. Monetary gifts need to be included in the will but you may wish to notify your executors of specific items you wish to leave. You say state the age at which you wish money and items to pass to your chosen beneficiaries. My sisters decided several years ago which items of jewelry they wished to have from me after my death! Residue This is what is left of your estate after payment of debts, legacies, any Inheritance Tax, and legal fees. If you own assets jointly with another then those jointly held assets will pass to the surviving co-owner. You are able to do many things with your residuary estate so it is important to take good advice.

Now I have written this I want to hear no more excuses about making wills. It simply will not do!! Come and see us or give us a call. When Argo makes your will there is no pain, trauma or suffering. There is coffee, cake, laughter, bad jokes and comfy slippers - just as it should be!

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