ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
You have been nominated to act in a Will in one of the following roles as a highly regarded and trusted individual. The following briefly explains your role along with any help and assistance you may need along the way.
Please take a few moments to read this leaflet and also ask yourself the question
HAVE I GOT MY ESTATE PLANNING IN ORDER?
or if you have a will...
IS MY WILL UP TO DATE?
Believe it or not almost two thirds of adults in the United Kingdom have yet to make a Last Will and Testament and, of those that have, many are unsigned, invalid or out of date.
The more people that we can help to plan the more unnecessary stress and heartache can be prevented when someone passes away. The two thirds of UK adults who have yet to plan and make a Will would die 'intestate'. This means that, under the terms of the law, everything they own at the time of their death will be distributed according to a strict set of rules known as the Rules of Intestacy. This can often mean that the process you think might happen following your passing doesn't actually happen such as the wrong people having control of your assets or inheriting from your estate.
You might have specific items or heirlooms that you'd like to go to named individuals but if this is not documented in a Will the wrong people may receive them even if you had communicated your wishes in other ways during your lifetime. This can cause arguments and breakdowns in family relationships at a time they should be supporting each other. Without estate planning there can even be confusion or disagreement over funeral wishes, adding to the stress and heartache of a bereavement.
Many people we meet say the same thing; 'we need one of them' or 'we must get around to it' and yet they still put it off, sometimes until it is too late. The process of making a Will is straightforward and simple in most cases with the correct advice and the right support. If this sounds like you then make the decision to change it today. Pick up the phone and speak to someone, free of charge, to discuss your existing Will or talk about the process of making a new Will on 0333 600 1000. It will only take a few minutes of your time.
What does it mean to be included in a Will and what does your role entail?
The role of an Executor is to essentially gather the estate together (everything that is owned at the time of death), deal with HMRC, pay off any debts and funeral expenses and then distribute the remainder of your estate according to the wishes in the Will.
Obviously there are many more stages and numerous tasks involved with the administration of an estate and we have provided a more comprehensive overview of this position, which is available in our “Role of an executor” booklet.
Often a Will may direct that a trust is set up. The purpose of the trust can vary from protecting property to stipulating at what age a beneficiary can inherit. Children under 18 years old, for example, cannot legally inherit and so a children's trust may be established by the Will which will appoint trustees to look after the fund until the children are old enough to inherit, typically between the ages of 18 and 25 years old.
If this sounds rather complicated, then please don't worry as we offer a bereavement service and are on hand to give advice and assistance when required as we provide a comprehensive range of legal services.
Should the unthinkable happen, then as appointed guardians to the children you are there to step up at a very important time and can eliminate a potentially very distressing situation. For example, if no Will has been written children can be made a ward of court and then it is in the hands of a stranger to decide who looks after the children which may not be what the parents wanted. You therefore can be confident that you are carrying out the parents wishes for the care and protection of their children as essentially the role of a guardian is quite similar to that of a parent.
A child's guardian will have a legal duty of care, being responsible for their personal safety, health, education and general up-bringing.
If this sounds daunting then don't worry we are on hand with our free bereavement service to explain your roles and responsibilities and there to assist with any legal aspects of the Will if required.
If you have been asked to witness the signing of a Will then you have been asked to perform a very simple but nonetheless very important role as you have signed to confirm that the Will has been completed correctly by all parties. Without this the Will is not valid and if a death occurs it will be rendered invalid and it will revert to the laws of intestacy.
Whilst your role at this point has ended please take time to consider once again your own arrangements and if you need help or advice with regard to existing arrangements or wish to protect your own family then ring us at once.
Quick Wills is dedicated to providing the highest level of customer service and we pride ourselves on offering free, no obligation, professional estate planning advice.
You have received this because someone you know has looked after the people they care about.
With one simple step you could protect your loved ones too.