What do I need to consider when making a Will?
4 min read
Writing a Will involves a lot of time and effort and it is not exactly a pleasant task to consider, but neglecting to state your wishes can cause a lot of trouble for your family. It is especially important in today’s society, as financial lives are becoming more complex and having a well-written Will would reduce a lot of potential complications. In this article, we have covered some basic considerations that are crucial to preparing a Will.
Guardians for your children
It is common to choose guardians in your Will to take care of your children until they become adults. You should consider whether the chosen guardians get along with your children and whether they have the means to include another family member.
If you decide to give away your assets to your children that are underage, then a trust would be set up from your Will. This means a trustee would look after your assets on behalf of your children until they reach adulthood.
Take care of your pets
Unfortunately, there is not much regulation on what happens to a pet when the owner passes away. Our online Will service, however, allows you to appoint a guardian for your beloved pet so you can ensure that they are taken care of should something happen to you.
Identify your assets
When you are giving away your assets in your Will, you should make sure that you actually own them. Quite often, people forget that they own an asset or assume that an asset is owned by them, but the transfer is yet to be legally formalized. Some assets also do not form part of your estate, i.e. joint accounts and life insurance.
Once you have identified your assets, you can decide on who to give these assets to. Our online Will writing service allows you to give cash gifts and personal possession to individuals. We also include an assets section, where you can fill in the details for us to create a list of assets for you to keep with your Will.
You can learn more by reading our residuary estate article and our property in Wills article.
Don't forget your digital assets
With the advancement of technology, individuals are owning more and more assets online, and it makes sense to have a list to include your digital assets. Examples of digital assets include cryptocurrency wallets, social medial accounts and email accounts.
To read more information, you can read our What is in the Will article.
Choose someone to take care of your assets
Your executors would manage your estate and your trustees would only take effect if a trust is formed in your Will, i.e. gift of assets to children. A trustee is commonly the same person as the executor. You should not choose someone lightly as this could be an onerous task for them.
What are Executors and Trustees?
Choose your beneficiaries
It is generally quite common to give away your assets to your spouse, failing them to your children in equal shares, or split your estate into shares to different individuals.
It is often the case that you want to be fair on the distribution toward family members, and so you should consider whether anyone benefited from gifts given to them during your lifetime. You might also take into account your life insurances, as these may not form part of your estate in the Will if you chose a beneficiary.
Inheritance Tax Considerations
Currently, Hong Kong does not have inheritance tax. If you are an expat or have assets overseas, you might consider consulting a tax advisor on your inheritance tax position in the other jurisdictions.
Claims against your estate
Unfortunately, conflicts do happen among family members and relatives, so when you decide on the distribution in your Will, you should consider whether there is a chance that someone might raise a claim against your estate.
Our online Will service includes a section allowing you to exclude someone from your Will.
Changes and amendments to your Will
Writing a Will is not a one-off occasion, and may require constant changes and updates. Below are examples of when you should consider reviewing your Will:-
- Marriage or remarriage
- Death of or falling out with your executors, guardians, or beneficiaries
- Additional members to the family
- Additional assets
To keep your Will current, we include an editing membership allowing you to login to your account and make the changes required for a small yearly fee. The first year of editing membership is on us!
Storage of your Will
A bank safety deposit box is probably not the best location to store your Will, as your executors will need the Will to access your deposit box. If you store your Will in a safe, you need to make sure a third party has access to it.
Currently, most probate courts in the world only accept original versions of the Will, so finding a place to store your Will requires thoughtful consideration. NobleWills offers storage of your Will for a small fee.
Let people know
No one will know where your Will is kept unless you let them know where it is stored. It is especially important to let the executors know where you have kept it, as they have the responsibility of bringing your Will to the courts to start the probate process. Our online Will service includes a letter for you to forward to the executors, so they know that you have written your Will with us and that they are chosen as the executors. They will also be able to verify with us the latest version of your Will.
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