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
  • Sbuj
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    Hi I have full time job plus extra part time if I will start working for agency tax for one of my extra jobs will b change…
    16 October 2018
  • Lizzie
    Re: Children's Bonus Bond
    I was bought a £25 Children's Bonus Bond as a christening present in 2001 and was wondering how much it is worth now and when it matures.
    8 October 2018
  • Storm
    Re: What Does Road Tax Pay For?
    I see a fair bit of pothole repairs, the biggest problem I see is the work carried out is very poor indeed more often than not as…
    26 September 2018
  • PETA
    Re: Payment of Pensions
    Can I change my pension to weekly how does this work
    20 September 2018
  • Kaz
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    Up until june this year i only had 1 job of 14 hrs a wk at minimum.wage, i now have 3 jobs, the 2nd one being 6.7 hrs a wk @…
    19 September 2018
  • Dom
    Re: Claiming Tax Relief on Mileage
    I am paid a £250 per month travel allowance with my salary, and claim monthly travel expenses each month from the company for…
    13 September 2018
  • Fifi
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    Hi I’m working 22hrs a week at 7.85ph but also signed up to an agency to work as and when, how much tax would I pay
    11 September 2018
  • Littledigidi
    Re: Claiming Tax Relief on Mileage
    Hi - I have a fuel card, the majority of my mileage is work related. can i claim any tax back on this. My company pay for all my…
    10 September 2018
  • TheTaxGuide
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    B - Your Question:I have two jobs the first is as and when and the second is 12 hrs a week, combined I am nowhere near the…
    4 September 2018
  • Loui
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    I am employed working 15hrs at £8.20 but get paid monthly and I'm self employed for 2 hrs a week at £8.00 a week. Would I get…
    3 September 2018