On My Death…

The worst night of my life happened just two days ago. It should have happened many months ago but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I have written my will.

I should have wrote it the day Molly was born or definitely before she was 9 months old, but the thought of not being here with her was too unbearable to think about.

But it had to be done, for me to know she would be okay and looked after how I would want. (Having a will can also greatly reduce the amount of inheritance tax paid)

There’s so much to think about that didn’t cross my mind but I feel so much better now it’s done.

All I need to do now is print it and get TWO people to sign it, as witnesses. If you only have one witness it only counts as your wishes and has no real meaning by law so it’s so important to get two signatures.

I believe this is true although I was not told it by anyone official: If you do not have a will and both parents die, your child(ren) will get put into care if you do not have a will stating who should be their guardian. A member of your family would have to then go through the very long process involving courts and social services to get guardianship of your child(ren) and this could take up to a year. Would you want your child(ren) in care that long after your death? Nope, nor would I, so make sure you have a will.

Here are some points to remember:

* Identify yourself – State your full name, address, National Insurance Number, Date of Birth – Let’s not get confused with you and someone else with the same name!

* Identify your beneficiaries – Again, you don’t want a solicitor to confuse people with the same name.

* Clearly state who is to have your child(ren) on your death, and state a second person incase the first has passed away or unwilling to do so at the time. Tell these people and make sure they are happy to be put down for such a responsibility.

* State what is to happen with the money in your bank accounts/saving accounts/bonds/ life insurance, and who they are held with. I have decided some of my money must be saved for Molly’s University fees and wedding, so state any wishes and detail what is to happen to any money left over. You could leave specific amounts of a percentage of your money for something/someone.

* What is to happen with your personal possessions? Your car, house, jewellery, household bits and bobs, family heirlooms. There are specific items of jewellery I would like Molly to have and I have clearly stated this.

* Are there any charities you wish to benefit? Name them and state how they are to benefit.

* Name an Executor – Who is to carry out your will and make sure it is followed? Would this be your Next of Kin or do you choose somebody different? (If you do not choose an Executor then your Next of Kin is automatically passed the responsibility) Name a back up incase your first choice is deceased or unwilling.

* Think the worst – and this bit tore my heart out – What happens to your money/possessions if you and your child(ren) should pass away?

* Make sure your partner has the same – Any decisions involving children should be mentioned the same on both your and your partner’s will (or your child’s father if different to your partner) If you have different and something happens to both of you, how does the court know which will to follow?!

* If you have a funeral plan then mention who it is held with.

* Consider if you loose capacity – Would there be any alterations in this case? State any wishes. Name a Power of Attorney, would this person be different to your Executor? (I have been through a two and a half year court battle because a family member didn’t name a power of attorney)

* Have two witnesses sign the will. They must not be family, married into your family, or mentioned in the will.

* State you are of sound mind and legal age to make the will:
I, (your name), declare this to be my last will and testament. I revoke all wills and codicils previously made by me. I declare that I am of legal age to make this will and I am of sound mind. This last will expresses my wishes without undue influence or duress.”

* Date it

* Don’t forget to sign it yourself! 

* Give a copy to people you trust – A solicitor, your Next of Kin, Executor, family and tell them where your copy is kept.

* Have peace of mind you have cared for your family beyond your death.

I wrote my will holding in all of my emotions, just to get the words on the page. It is the worst thing I have ever had to think about and I just wanted to cry. But now it is done I know Molly will be okay, no matter what.

Make sure you have a will, do it for your children.