As part of the Dying Matters Awareness Week which runs from the 8th – 14th May, I thought I might write a few words regarding what you might think about when completing your Will.
Who do you want to do the job?
In your Will, you appoint executors of your estate. These people will be your representatives after you have passed and will have responsibility for settling your affairs and distributing your estate.
You need to think about who is going to do the job as it might prove a complicated task. The people you chose might decide they, for one reason or another, are not up to the task and they can decide to employ a firm of professionals to undertake the work on their behalf.
If you decide the people you might ask to do the job are not up to the task, then you can decide to employ professionals to be Executors and undertake the work. Because applying for probate is a reserved legal activity, you must be sure the company you appoint is regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, if not they will in turn outsource the work to a third party that you have no relationship with. Administering the estate, although not a reserved legal activity, is still best done by a regulated firm in order to ensure compliance with best practice and ultimately the best outcome for your estate and beneficiaries.
Do you have any particular wishes about what happens to your body?
Broadly speaking you might decide to buried or cremated and you can record your preference in your Will.
You might decide you want your body to be donated to medical science. To make sure this happens it is important to undertake a little research while you are still with us. Is there a particular medical research facility or teaching hospital in your area? Do they need to have from you a written agreement before they can accept your body?
Also, you might want to record in your Will how your remains should be dealt with when they are no longer needed by the institution, would you want them to bury your remains or cremate them? Would you want family members present or informed?
How can you make sure your treasured items go to the right people?
It is common practice to list in your Will that you want a particular item of jewellery or furniture to pass to a named person. To make sure the executors of your estate can carry out your wishes you should properly identify the item. If you listed in your Will, “I give the painting I have hanging in my hall to my niece” and the executors discover no painting or indeed three paintings hanging in the hall they would be unable to carry out your wishes. Better if you properly describe the item, “I give my painting of the sad clown with the red nose to my niece”
What is Dying Matters Awareness Week?
The Dying Matters Coalition was set up by The National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) in 2009 with the aim of changing public attitudes, knowledge and behaviour towards dying, death and bereavement. With the support of over 30,000 members throughout the UK, including organisations across the NHS, faith and community organisations, schools and colleges, trade unions, the legal profession and the funeral sector; the coalition is hoping to make ‘living and dying well’ the norm by helping people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.
The awareness week, now in it’s 8th year, is running under the theme of ‘What Can You Do?’, and is aimed to encourage members of the public to take 5 simple steps to make their end of life experience better, for them and for their loved ones. The 5 steps are:
1. Write your Will
2. Record your funeral wishes
3. Plan your future care and support
4. Consider registering as an organ donor
5. Tell your loved ones your wishes
What Can You Do?
Contemplating what you want to happen when you are no longer with us may seem a morbid and an unhappy subject but as noted above there are many practical matters to bear in mind and with some forethought and action you can make your passing a little less burdensome on those you leave behind.
Call us on 03455 20 30 40 or click here and we will contact you to discuss your personal situation and to help you;
- Plan for your future
- Protect your assets and
- Preserve your estate for your loved ones