Once you’ve made a will, you might think that you can tick that box of getting your affairs in order and move on with your life. But Pardeep Bancil, solicitor in the wills, trust and probate team, advises that there are just a few more things you need to do to ensure that your wishes are carried out with as little delay as possible, after you pass away.
If you make a Will make sure your appointed executors know that the document exists and where it is kept.
Keeping original documents such as your marriage certificate, birth certificate in a place where the executors can find them is useful when they need to deal with your estate.
If you hold bank accounts with online access and receive no paper statements think practically about how your executors will know the accounts exist and how they can notify the banks of your death. It is helpful to keep a secure electronic list of the accounts or a physical list with your Will. The document should be kept up to date, secure but accessible for the executors.
If you have wishes about your funeral write them down in a letter of wishes. Let your executor know where this letter is kept. This can take some of the stress away for executors trying to arrange a funeral.
If you make gifts during your lifetime, HMRC want to know about gifts in excess of £3,000 per year in the 7 years leading up to your death. In some cases, they will look back 14 years before your death. To assist your executors simply keep a list of the dates, values and recipients of gifts during your lifetime so they can clearly identify and declare relevant gifts made following your death.
Small foreign assets
If you own a small foreign investment or bank account, it is wise to deal with this in during your lifetime. If you die owning such a holding it can be disproportionately costly for your executors to cash in the foreign asset, and often the administrative costs are greater than the value of the asset itself. The beneficiaries then miss out on the asset altogether, sometimes forfeiting their interest in the asset due to the costs of claiming it.