2010 - 2017
Making a Will is not about wealth it is about making sure that what you want to happen to your estate does happen. It gives you the opportunity to specify such things as who will administer your estate, who will care for your children and who will receive specific items of your property.
If you have a pet name for one of your children it is best to avoid using this in the will. For example, I knew someone who always referred to his son as 'The little fella' which expression would have been most unfortunate to use in his will. Suppose, for example, he had gone on to develop a close friendship with somebody who was of very small build?
In the event of a dispute, evidence may be accepted by the court so as to prove the use of the name but a lot of money will be taken up by the litigation.
If you have only one daughter but two sons and wish to use a pet name for your daughter, then you should at least state that she is your daughter. For example, 'I give my entire estate to my sons Bill and Ben and my daughter the princess in equal shares.'
It is very important to name any beneficiary who is not actually a blood relative.
Stepchildren are not included in the description 'my children' but legally adopted children are. If you have been married for many years and regard your spouse's children as your own, it is easy to forget that the law sees things differently.
If you do not wish to point out the fact that one child is a stepchild, you should simply name all of them rather than using the phrase 'my children'. In fact, it is better specifically to name them anyway as this will assist your executors in identifying the recipients of your estate.
It must always be borne in mind that family quarrels and breakdowns can occur. On your death the size of your family may not always be apparent, particularly to a professional executor. Naming your children individually ensures that your executors are aware of their existence, even if their whereabouts is not immediately known.
It should be mentioned that there is one drawback to naming your children individually in your will. The birth of your first child is one of the occasions when you should consider revising your will or making a will if you haven't already done so.
If you are likely to increase your family in the future then you will have to make a fresh will to include the new child each time.
Addresses are of great assistance to executors but are not legally essential. The important thing is that there is no room for doubt as to whom the will is intended to benefit. If you do insert addresses make sure they are correct.
Half-remembered or out-of-date addresses can create more problems than having no addresses at all.
It is not necessary to make a fresh will just because addresses change. If you or a beneficiary changes address following execution of your will, you should place an explanatory piece of paper in the envelope with it. Do not change the address on the will itself.