Will Clauses Explained
One of the most important roles I undertake as Will Writing and Estate Planning Consultant is to ensure that I explain things in plain speak so that people can understand how their Will is written and what the clauses contained within a Will means.
The purpose of today’s post is to outline an overview of some of the most common clauses written into Will’s and break down the meaning or purpose of such clause into plain speak.
List of Common Will Clauses
Whilst the clauses contained within your Will are going to depend very much on your own personal circumstances and wishes, below are a list of the most commonly used Clauses.
This clause revokes (cancels) any previous Wills (including any made in foreign countries) and declares that this Will is your last Will
Appointment of Executors
Appoints the people who you wish to administer your estate on your death. The responsibilities of an Executor is to:-
- Locate the beneficiaries named in the Will
- Locate and identify the assets and any liabilities of the estate
- Deal with the administration of the estate according to law by collecting in these assets
- Apply to the Court for a grant of Probate of the Will.
(Probate is a formal document that confirms the Executors and gives them permission to administer the estate)
- Ensure all claims and debts are received, assessed and paid if substantiated
- Arrange for the distribution of the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will
- Prepare accounts and deal with taxation returns
Appointment of Guardians
This clause in your Will records your appointment of guardians for your minor children i.e. those under the age of majority (18 years old). It should be noted that it is only possible to appoint a guardian to those children for whom the law regards you as having “parental responsibility” for.
To be able to make an appointment you must be one of the following:-
- The mother or father of a child who was married to each other at the time of the child’s birth
- The child’s mother whether or not she was married to the father at the time of the child’s birth
- The father of the child if he marries the natural mother
- The father of a child, born since December 2003, who was not married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth but is named on the birth certificate
- The father of a child who was not married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth but who has been given parental responsibility by a valid parental responsibility agreement entered into with the child’s mother
- A person granted parental responsibility by a court
- A properly appointed guardian
It is important to remember that by making a guardian appointment you cannot take away the rights of a person, surviving you, who also has parental responsibility for any child of yours.
Directs to a specific individual your personal chattels not already gifted. Personal chattels include personal items such as cars, jewellery and other household goods. It does not include, for example, houses, land, bank accounts, investments or businesses.
Legacy of Business Property
This clause directs your business assets applicable to Business Property Relief to your Business Family Trust(s)
Legacy of Agricultural Property
This clause directs your agricultural assets applicable to Agricultural Property Relief to your APR Family Trust(s)
Records that you have bequeathed a specific sum of money absolutely to a specified individual(s) (For example £5000 to my Niece)
Records that you have bequeathed a specific item absolutely to a specified individual(s)
(For example a specific item of family jewellery)
Absolute pecuniary Legacy (Nil Rate Band)
Your assets up to the nil rate band are being directed into your Family Trust
Definition and Administration of My Estate
Defines what your estate means, including stating that the Will deals with all your assets wherever they may be, including abroad. This clause also defines that any debts on the estate must be paid before any further distributions are made. This includes any funeral costs. After the debts are repaid, the specific legacies are distributed and then the residue of the estate.
Absolute Residuary Gift
This is the residue of your estate and any of your assets over the nil rate band are being directed to your Interest in Possession Family Trust
This clause states that your executors have the powers outlined in The Schedule of Administrative Powers
Any person that does not survive you for 28 days will be treated as having died before you.
For The Avoidance of Doubt
This clause adds some defining sentences to clarify the terms within the Will
The Schedule of Administrative Powers
This clause outlines the powers of the Executors, as defined by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. (these are the guidelines our Wills are written to, others may differ)
Clauses Covering Requests and Wishes :
A clause that is used to name individuals that should not receive any part of your estate on your death
A clause where you have expressed a wish that your organs can be used for transplant
A clause where you have expressed a wish regarding how you would like your body to be treated after your death
Testimonium and Attestation
In order for a Will to be legally binding, It is essential that your Will is signed and witnessed correctly. It needs to be signed and witnessed by two independent witnesses and until it is signed and witnessed correctly it will not be valid.