Christmas is coming…and the Will is still not done

With Christmas upon us in less than 8 weeks our thoughts are quickly turning to presents, turkey, family parties and wine. Our minds are so full of all the forthcoming festivities that we do not want to be faced with the prospect of making a Will before the year is out!

When we think of making a will there are several words that automatically spring to mind:

  • Confusing
  • Long documents which make no sense
  • Old fashioned terms
  • A different language

How can the process be less daunting?

As life is getting more chaotic at this time of year we want to try and help you with the decision to make a Will and a little light reading to encourage you to put “making a Will” on your 2015 “to do” list.

So our gift to you is of a brief explanation of some of the wording you may find in your Will:

  • a Will – your written instructions as to what will happen to what you own after your death
  • testator – the person making the Will
  • Executors – the people who carry out your wishes under your Will and have legal authority to close bank accounts and sell property
  • Trustees – usually the same people as your Executors and they will look after any money for children until the age stated in your Will when the money will be transferred to them
  • Guardians – the people you choose to look after your children if they are under 18 when you die
  • Pecuniary legacy – gift of money to an individual or charity
  • Specific bequest – gift of an item eg jewellery, paintings, ornaments etc again to an individual or charity
  • Chattels – a very old fashioned term for personal items (once it even included a wife!!!! But not any more). Any of these items can be individually listed in the will itself or a letter can be left with them will of the items for individuals
  • Residuary estate – the balance of what is left after all gifts have been given and debts and the funeral have been settled
  • Beneficiary – an individual or charity who will receive a benefit under the Will
  • Witnesses to a Will – two people who are present when you sign your Will who are not named in the Will

We hope that this will help to ease your fears of making a Will and our specialist Private Client department will ensure that the preparation of your Will is carried out with the utmost efficiency and that all of the terms in your Will are fully explained to you during the Will making process (so you will have a head start!)

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