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Top tips for School Teachers on the importance of making a will November 2022

 

Advice for Serving and Retired Teachers 2022 on the importance of making a will.

Writing a will can feel like a daunting task – which might explain why 42 per cent of over-55s don’t have one, according to research by Macmillan Cancer Support.  But creating a will is one of the most important things you’ll do, ensuring that everything you have worked hard for during your life will go to the people most important to you.

“People spend their entire lives working really hard to build their estate so it’s really important that it’s taken care of properly,” says Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity. “You don’t want to leave it to chance or put it in someone else’s hands. If you don’t get your affairs in order it can also be a real emotional burden to the people you leave behind.”

1. Speak to a qualified Will Writer.

When writing a will you should always seeks professional advice and go to an accredited solicitor who you can help you navigate the process. “It’s important that you don’t try and do it yourself because you can end up creating more of a mess than if you didn’t have a will at all,” says Cope.

Before you write a will you’ll need to work out the value of your estate, which will include your property, car, personal possessions and money, minus all your debts (including mortgages, loans, overdrafts and credit or extended purchase agreements).

2. Decide who you are leaving things to.

Then you’ll want to think about how you’d like your estate to be distributed. “Think of it a bit like a cake and you’re giving slices to the people who you want to share your estate with,” explains Cope.

While friends and family are always the most important consideration, even a small amount left to your favourite charity or charities can make a massive difference. Legacy donations make up £2.8 billion of charitable donations every year and play a vital role in helping such organisations continue with their work. This donation can be as small or big as you like – even modest amounts can make a huge difference. “If you’ve got a small amount at the end, leave that slice to your favourite charity. It’s very easy,” says Cope.

3.Tell your family.

Whatever your wishes, being transparent with loved ones about what you intend to do is a good idea. “I would always encourage people to have the conversation with their families,” says Cope. “It saves heartache at the end. And if you are leaving money to charities, explain that to your family and tell them you’re really proud of what you want to do.” 

4.Think about childcare.

Writing a will isn’t just about getting your financial affairs in order, though. “You’ll also need to think about things like who looks after your children if you’re not there,” says Cope. Another important step is to appoint executors – trusted people who will deal with your estate in the event of your death. Ideally, executors should be business-minded family or friends, or they can be professional advisers.

5.Don’t forget computer stuff.

These days, our digital assets are an important consideration, too. We all have increasing amounts of assets stored online, ranging from email and Facebook accounts, passwords for online accounts, to digital music and photos. You can choose to pass these onto family or friends when writing a will.

Once written, most professional advisers will offer to store your will for you, or you can store it with the Probate Service, part of Her Majesty’s Court Service.

Without an up-to-date will, your assets and possessions may not go to the people who mean the most to you, from friends and family to charities close to your heart. “Writing a will is really straightforward and not very expensive,” says Cope. “It costs in the region of £150, you can get it done in an hour, and it could be the most important document you’ll ever have.”

Writing a will | Jargon-buster

Beneficiary: A person, or an organisation, to whom you leave something in your will.

Bequest:  A term for a gift that you leave to a person or organisation in your will. There are several different types of bequest, which your solicitor can explain to you.

Codicil:  A document used to change a will that has already been made. You can find more information about codicils in how to leave a gift to charity in your will.

Estate:  Your estate is the total sum of your personal possessions, property and money minus any liabilities.

Executor(s):  The person or people that you appoint to ensure your final wishes are carried out. These can be professionals, friends, family members or institutions such as banks and some charities.

Guardian:  Someone who is responsible for children until they become 18.

Inheritance tax:  This tax is paid on the portion of your estate that is above the nil-rate threshold.

Intestate:  The word used to describe someone who has died without making a will.

Legacy:  Another word for a gift or bequest left in your will.

Probate:  When somebody dies leaving a will, their executors will usually need to apply for a grant of probate. Once this is obtained, the executors can deal with the wishes expressed in the will and distribute the gifts that have been left.

Residue:  This is what is left of your estate after any outstanding debts, taxes, pecuniary and specific bequests have been distributed to beneficiaries.

Testator:  The name given to a person who has made a will.

Trustee(s):  One or more people who manage a trust.

 

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