Home > Wills > What is a Will?

What is a Will?

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 30 Jan 2014 | comments*Discuss
 
Will Testament Affairs Distribution

Often known as a Last Will and Testament, a will is one of the most important documents that you will ever write, or be involved in writing. It is likely to be the piece of paper that has the most influence on the way your affairs are handled after your death.]

Any individual who is of age, and is deemed mentally capable of doing so, is entitled to make a will. This document does not necessarily have to follow a set pattern; if it can be proved, for example, that a paragraph on the back of an envelope represents your final wishes, then this may be sufficient. However, in order to avoid complications and to ensure that your wishes are met as fully as possible, a legally accepted formula should be adhered to.

Key Purposes of a Will

The basic purpose of a will is to outline the intentions of the writer with regard to their affairs after their death. These affairs are primarily financial, although a will often covers other areas. The document will include several key elements, including:
  • The nomination of executors
  • An outline of the individual’s assets
  • A list of their dependants
  • A list of any debts the individual owes
  • A list of any debts which are owed to them
  • Details of arrangements to be made for any children
  • The individual’s intentions with regard to the Distribution Of Their Estate

Ensuring that assets are distributed in accordance with the individual’s wishes is the overriding reason for writing a will. The document should include instructions regarding how the estate should be disbursed, and to whom. In many cases, this will be no more complicated than instructing that all assets should be passed to a spouse or civil partner, but often other arrangements need to be made. For tax purposes, many individuals choose to establish discretionary trusts in their will. This can ensure that any Inheritance Tax Liability is mitigated.

Executors of a Will

Another key aspect of the will is the nomination of executors. This individual (or these individuals) will be responsible for carrying out the instructions contained in the document. As a result, many people choose to nominate individuals who are not their spouse or civil partner, in case both are involved in an accident. Although most people choose a trusted friend, it is also possible to appoint a professional organisation to take charge of affairs. This may be a bank or a company that deals solely as executors. (For more information, read our article Appointing an Executor for Your Will.)

Children in a Will

Children also play a major part in a will. Many people’s major concern is the welfare of their children after their death, and the will is the document in which legal arrangements can be made for their guardianship. Often the nominated guardians are the same as the executors, although this does not have to be the case. Similarly, financial provision can be made by stipulating, for example, that part of the estate should be placed into trust until the children (or any other dependants) reach a certain age.

The Writing Of A Will ensures that your affairs will be dealt with in the way in which you intend. Similarly, failing to do so can mean that your assets are distributed in an unsatisfactory way, with a large proportion going straight to the Crown.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Jas
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    Hi I have 2 jobs my first job I get paid 1150 second job paid 362 after tax it is BR tax but I'm sure on both my jobs I am…
    2 July 2020
  • Stig
    Re: What is My Tax Code?
    I recently got moved on to a k2600 tax code. My earnings have increased and I now get a fully fuelled car. My earnings prior to this were…
    19 June 2020
  • Legend
    Re: Should I be Paid Mileage Allowance?
    Hi my company are not paying me mileage I'm doing 84 miles a day.They provide me with a works van but can I still claim…
    3 June 2020
  • Caramel
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    I currently have a full time job and wonder if I get a second job, is it worth it? If earning under 40k (doing both jobs and…
    30 May 2020
  • Dee
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    I'm currently working full-time, as from next week I will be going part-time, and at the same time starting a new part-time…
    6 May 2020
  • Kel
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    Hi I have been offered two jobs and want to work out if I accept what would I be taxed or what will I take home after tax and…
    20 April 2020
  • Ness
    Re: Should I be Paid Mileage Allowance?
    I have submitted my mileage allowance form to HMRC and have had notification that I am owed £**** for miles over 10,000.…
    17 April 2020
  • Amanda
    Re: What is My Tax Code?
    Hi I am getting a second job and I just worked it out with both wages I will still be under my personal allowance at 12500 so will I be taxed…
    4 February 2020
  • Pat
    Re: Payment of Pensions
    Who do I contact to change pension payments to weekly from monthly and is it easy to do regards Pat
    29 January 2020
  • Leelee
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    I worked 48 hours a wk but hey paid for 44 hours a wk iv been offered a second job but only on bank would I have to pay tax…
    29 November 2019