Dib Dib Dob Dob - Like a Scout, Be Prepared
There is no escape from the fact that when a client instructs a will to be prepared that they have to collect together a lot of information about their assets and how they would like them to be distributed. In the first of two posts we’ll explore some of the key information that needs to be provided.
It’s understandable that gathering together all the necessary information can seem long winded and taxing but in the end it will save a lot of time and ensure that when the draft will is presented back for review that it is as comprehensive as possible.
Having said all this it is useful to look at the information that will be needed when a will is instructed. It is worth bearing in mind that if a couple are instructing much of the information is likely to be duplicated thereby saving some time and frustration.
It’s an inescapable fact that the authorities are becoming much more diligent on people proving who they are when creating any form of legal agreement. This is generally to prevent money laundering issues and ensure that people are who they say they are. Typically, identification is evidenced by a valid passport or driving licence so these should be available for inspection during the instruction process.
It may be obvious but it is important to ensure that the personal details of the client(s) is recorded accurately to ensure that the will applies correctly. Interestingly, one of the questions asks whether the person is known by any other names such as a nickname. This again reinforces the identity of the person instructing the will.
For many of us our circumstances change over time. In the past there may have been a will executed that no longer reflects our current situation. In this case it is important that the existence of a previous will is known about so that the new will can officially supersede any previous. You would also need to provide a reason as to why you are revoking the previous will.
Each party to the will would need to declare their marital status. Also, whether they have been married previously and whether the couple went through a formal marriage service or civil partnership. If a couple are not yet married or in a civil partnership but contemplating doing so a specific clause would need to be included in the will to make it valid. Note that if a will was executed when the client was single or co-habiting it is automatically revoked on marriage or civil partnership.
Anyone who instructs a will must be competent to do so as if this is not the case it may be challenged in the future. Where there is doubt an opinion from a doctor may be sought to exclude any doubt.
A rather bizzare phrase that essentially means children. It is important to record these details for all offspring including natural, adopted and step children. If they are under the age of majority there will be a need to identify potential guardians if both parents die before they reach this age.