It’s one of those questions that we tend to avoid and it is estimated that up to 70% of us will die “intestate” or not having made a Will. There seems to be no exception to this when it comes to the partners and spouses of military personnel, which is strange when we are so often confronted with the thought of what life would be like if the worst should happen to our other halves. We seem to think that it is morbid to consider what will happen after we die, but it should be reassuring to know that we have made provision for the people we love and care about.
As you may be aware, the MOD advises all Armed Forces personnel to draw up a Will with a professional adviser prior to deployment. However, this very rarely happens in practice and is often not reviewed after their return.
The MOD106 Will is available to all military personnel. However, the form states that service personnel must seek professional/legal advice in certain circumstances. These are in bold at the top of the form.
Here is an extract from the form, please note this is taken word for word;
You need legal advice on making a Will –
- Where you share/purchased a property with someone who is not your husband, wife or civil partner;
- Where you wish to make provision for a dependant who is unable to care for themselves;
- Where there are several family members who may make a claim on the estate; for example, a 2nd wife; children from a previous marriage; children from a relationship of which your partner/spouse is not aware but you wish to take care of them;
- Where your permanent home is not in the UK or if you have foreign bank accounts or overseas properties;
- Where there is a business involved;
- Where the Executor resides outside the UK;
- Where the beneficiary is on state benefits;
- If money is to be held in trust for children, a solicitor MUST be consulted;
- If your estate is complex or likely to be of high value.
If any of these circumstances apply to you or your partner, it really is worth checking over your Will, or your circumstances, to see what the likely outcome is in the eyes of the legal system. For many it is often a surprise.
A Will is simply a record of the choices you have made about what happens to your money, property and possessions. With the right advice it can also help reduce Inheritance Tax. But the best reason for making a Will is that it makes a stressful situation a little easier for your nearest and dearest.
What do I put in my Will?
- Who will be your “beneficiaries” (the people you want to benefit from your Will);
- Who will be the “guardians” to your children (if they are under 18);
- Who should be your “executor” (they manage your estate and carry out your wishes);
- What will happen if your beneficiaries have died before you.
What do I do with the Will once I’ve made it?
Tell your executor that you have appointed them and where your Will is stored. This is usually at home, which is not advisable, or could be kept with a solicitor or bank.
What if I change my mind?
You can’t amend your Will after it’s been signed and witnessed. The only way you can change a Will is by making an official alteration called a ‘codicil’. It is a good idea anyway to review your Will every five years, or after a major change in your life such as:
- Getting separated, married or divorced;
- Having a child;
- Moving house;
- The executor named in the Will dies.
Will writing is not currently regulated by the FCA