There are certain restrictions as to who can make a Will, including age and capacity.
In England and Wales you generally need to be 18 before you can make a Will. It is always advisable to make a Will once you reach that age, even if you feel you might not have anything much to leave.
You can include your wishes for social media accounts as well as leave gifts of items other than cash which you may want friends or family members to receive from you.
If you own your own home or are involved in a business you should make sure you have a Will.
Those under 18 may be allowed to make a Will if they are in the armed forces on active duty or they are sailors at sea. A law introduced during the First World War allows young people in these circumstances to make a Privileged Will allowing them to leave their possessions as they wish.
Other restrictions on making a Will
You are required to have ‘testamentary capacity’ to make a Will. This means that you must fully understand the nature of the document and its effect.
You also need to know the extent of the property you own.
Finally, you need to be able to understand the moral obligations you should consider, for example whether you have any dependents who are more in need of financial help than others, through illness or incapacity or because they themselves have dependents.
When should you make a Will?
You should make a Will straight away if you don’t already have one, and plan to review it regularly, particularly as life changes.
You may want to have your Will rewritten on the arrival of children or grandchildren or if you get divorced.
If you marry, any Will you have will become invalid and you will need a new one or your estate would pass under the Rules of Intestacy.
If you own a business or are in a partnership you should have a Will drawn up taking this into account.
If you are co-habiting then making a Will ensures that you can leave that person something if you wish. If you die without making provision for them, it is possible they will receive nothing.
A recent survey found that three-quarters of adults questioned did not have a Will. Whatever your circumstances, if you clearly set out your wishes it not only means that the administration process will be easier for people, but you can be assured that your beneficiaries will receive exactly what you want them to have.
To speak to someone about writing your Will, call one of our specialist team at legalmatters, on 01243 216900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.