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
  • Yorkie
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    Hi, I'm in full time employment and in my employers service dept. I earn a decent wage, on the edge if being a higher rate…
    9 April 2019
  • White
    Re: Claiming Tax Relief on Mileage
    Hello there im looking for advice on my current role i have been told i need the fill out a self assessment tax return due to my…
    6 April 2019
  • sim
    Re: Claiming Tax Relief on Mileage
    hi I get payed 45p per mile of my employer for business miles but universal credits say that it's income and reduce my monthly…
    29 March 2019
  • Panco
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    I work 60 hours per week is £459 in week,but I looking for a job on weekends it’s will be 8 hours £68per booths days how much…
    28 March 2019
  • cdoggywoof
    Re: Are DVLA Car Tax Rates Fair?
    For someone who can only afford a car for £1000 and the VED will cost them £200 each year, which is 20% of the vehicle cost, this…
    21 March 2019
  • Whitely
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    Hi, I am earning approx £9,000pa working in one job. I have been offered a second job where I will earn £3,400pa so it takes…
    19 March 2019
  • Leroy
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    If i work 16.2.5 hours a week then in a second job do 10 hours a week how much tax will a pay
    13 March 2019
  • Fire
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    Hi I work part time 22.5 hrs week and earn £17,500 year. I have just been offered extra work of 3 - 6 hours a month earning…
    13 February 2019
  • shelle
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    i currently work 10 hors in supermarket been offered a job at care home 30 hours a week how / what will happen to tax how…
    23 January 2019
  • Wild child
    Re: How Will My Second Job Be Taxed?
    Hi I have a full time job and get 16,500 a year but thinking of getting a second job that I get 5,280 a month how much tax…
    21 January 2019