Wills Solicitors in Charlestown, Newcastle
A Will is a legal document that sets out how a person wishes for their assets to be distributed after their death. It also nominates a person (the Executor) who will carry out this distribution and manage you estate after you pass away.
As your Will allows you to tell others how you want your assets to be distributed after your death it is one of the most important documents you will ever sign. For that reason it should be prepared by a solicitor with experience in estate planning. Here at Berryman Partners we will listen to your wishes carefully and consider all of your circumstances. If necessary we will liaise with your Financial Planner or Accountant to ensure that your Will is prepared thoroughly and accurately.
Why do I need a Will?
If you die without a Will you will have no say in how your assets are distributed; your estate will automatically be left to your next of kin and, in some cases, to the government. You will also have no say as to who it is that manages your estate and carries out the distribution. The Supreme Court will instead appoint an Administrator to handle these responsibilities.
What are the key requirements of a Will?
The person executing the Will (the testator) must have capacity. This means that they must be over the age of 18 years. They must know that they are making a Will and must understand the nature and effect of the proposed Will. The other requirements of a legal Will are that it must be in writing and signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses who cannot be beneficiaries or the spouse of a beneficiary.
What should I include in my Will?
Your Will should set out how you intend your assets to be distributed after your death. You should include a list of the beneficiaries whom you wish to share in your estate. Your Will should also appoint an executor who you can trust with the responsibility of carrying out your intentions. If you wish to make any specific gifts of property you should include these in your Will. You may also include your preferences for funeral arrangements and for the disposal of your body after death.
When should I update my Will?
It is generally advisable to give consideration to updating your Will every few years. However, you should update your Will whenever a major change occurs to your life circumstances. This might include the purchase of real property, separation from a partner who was included in your Will or the arrival of new children. Marriage automatically cancels any Will that was not made in contemplation of that marriage. Separation from a spouse does not affect your Will, however, divorce will revoke any specific gifts made to your former partner and any appointment of that spouse as executor. Therefore, you should update your Will after these circumstances.
Any changes made to a Will after execution have no effect. If you wish to change your Will, the simplest approach is to execute a fresh one.