Making a Will
It is always a good idea to make a will. If you are a single parent, and the sole guardian of your child or children, it is particularly important. When you make a will, you choose an executor; someone trustworthy and competent who can look after your affairs after you die. That person ensures that your will is complied with.
If you are joint guardian of your children with their other parent, then that parent becomes responsible for looking after them in the event of your premature death.
If you are sole guardian, you can nominate people to become guardian to your child or children in the event of your death. It is a good idea to discuss this with the person or people you nominate before you name them in your will. You can also name other people who should be guardian in the event that the first named person cannot take up the role for whatever reason.Providing for this eventuality in your will means that, should something happen to you, people you choose can step in straight away to look after and protect your children.
Division of your Estate and Trustees
If you die and you have children, but no spouse or civil partner, then your estate (any property and/or assets) will be divided evenly between your children. If the children are minors when you die, then the estate will be managed by trustees until they are old enough to receive it. You can appoint trustees to look after your children’s inheritance for them until they are old enough to access it. The trustees’ responsibilities might also include providing an allowance to your children’s guardians to cover their care costs, or to pay their school fees, for example.
Your Home and Outstanding Mortgage
Your home, if you own it or are buying it, is most likely your most valuable asset. If you have adequate mortgage protection cover, any outstanding amount on your mortgage will be paid off if you die.
Do you need a solicitor?
While it is not essential to have the assistance of a solicitor to make a will, it is advisable. A solicitor can ensure that the will is drafted properly and legally and that your wishes as stated can be carried out.
Your will must be signed in front of two witnesses. A witness cannot be someone who will benefit under your will, or the spouse or civil partner of anyone who will benefit. A witness must also be over 18 years of age.
You can change your will at any time before you die, provided you are of sound mind.