The first question is, should I think about writing a Will?
Even if you think you don’t have much, someone has to sort through and decide where your stuff goes after you’ve gone. Save them the hassle. Start writing a Will.
In Scotland, you can think about writing a Will as young as 12; that age is 18 in the rest of the UK.
Writing a Will is one of the smartest things you can do to save squabbles after you die. A Will is the legal document that lays out what should happen to your ‘estate’ – your assets – like property and belongings; all the stuff you leave behind when you die. Mostly it’s the bigger, more valuable assets that a Will covers, like savings and property. You can pass on wee things through your free My Final Fling account. I’ve gifted my friend Yvonne my leather coat because she asked if she could have it when I die! It could hold up settling your Will if the lawyers and family have to run around trying to identify the coat and the friend, so best to keep these things in your Wishes and refer to this in your Will. It’s usually the small things that mean most to people, so it’s nice to decide who gets what with meaningful remains of the day.
3 easy steps to writing a Will
- You can write a Will yourself on the bag of the proverbial but we recommend you contact a solicitor or Will writer. They will keep you right. Contact us and we’ll put you in touch with professionals who will discuss your needs, offer free advice and quote for their fees before you’ve committed anything.
- Save a copy of your Will to your My Final Fling Safe Deposit Box and add small bequests in your Wishes. You can add your funeral wishes here too rather than in your Will – the Will is usually read after the funeral.
- Appoint a Keyholder on Final Fling who can access a copy when you die
“What if?” questions
To begin writing or drafting a Will, experts will usually run you through a series of useful (if a bit scary) “what if” questions. “What if your partner dies first…” “What if you need to find guardians for the children…” By gum, that focuses the mind.
A lawyer, solicitor or Will writer will be able to help you explore the options and understand the impact of your choices when writing a Will.
7 key relationships
Traditionally, people leave things in their Will to their kith and kin – usually among these 7 key relationships: partner, mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister. However, it can just as easily be a friend or a charity that you choose to leave your belongings to. See more about legacies and charity giving.
You can set conditions: “I leave Gill £5,000 on reaching 21” if you want to make sure a younger person is mature enough to spend it wisely. (Though frankly, spending money lavishly or foolishly is one of my favourite things.)
These days it’s worth remembering that it’s not just property that’s valuable. Digital legacies or virtual property can have a value too. Gift someone your valuable domain name.
Many of us have complex family arrangements these days: ex partners, children born to different partners. We might be combining assets in a new relationship. If you don’t have a Will you might end up with a new partner being cut out and an out-of-favour ex gaining; your children with an ex could lose out to children of a new partner; your current partner’s home might be at risk. Here are some typical family set-ups and how Wills are often set up.
You can opt to leave it all to a friend, to special children in your life, your dog, a charity. If you opt to leave money to children, you can put an age condition on it, eg 18, 21. Warning: If you don’t have a Will, your estate usually goes to your parents and then passes down to your siblings – any brothers and sisters.
Your children are your next of kin and your estate will automatically go to them. You may want to put in an age condition and appoint a guardian to make sure they are old enough to manage. You can also leave any part of your estate to a friend or family member. Warning: You may want to appoint a guardian if you don’t want the other parent to take over if anything happens to you. The State will appoint a guardian if there are no arrangements in place.
Couple, no children
Usually couples draw up mirror wills, leaving their estate to each other. You might leave your estate 50:50 between each family or specify amounts depending on who you think needs (or deserves) most. You can gift to friends, others’ children or charity. If you’re comfortably off and the surviving partner can afford it, you might elect to pay out after the first death so that beneficiaries can enjoy their gift earlier. Warning: If you’re not married, your family may have a claim on your estate that could cut out your partner. A Will can sort this out.
Couple with shared children
If you have a child or children between you, usually you’d leave your estate to the child(ren), with an age condition attached if they are under 16. You can elect to leave to grandchildren too if you have them.
Couple with children from different relationships
These days complex family set ups mean there may be a child or children from previous relationships, maybe as well as children you have together. This means there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Warning: an ex-partner may have a claim if you don’t have a Will so sort it out!
Whether you’re a single parent, have children of your own and are in a relationship, or have children with your current partner, you might want to think about appointing a legal guardian in case anything happens to you. The State may appoint a guardian if you don’t.
Do I have to register my Will?
Nope. So long as you have a Will and it can be located, you’re sorted. Storage options include storing a paper copy at home, storing a secure online copy in Final Fling linked to your Keyholder (recommended), registering a copy with the State (for a fee).
Get help writing your Will
We have a network of professional independent legal advisers and will writers who can help. Contact us.
Final Fling used to offer a Will on the site but found that it’s such an important document that even though it was easy to complete, folks still wanted a belt and braces check with a legal expert or will writer just to be sure it reflected their wishes.