Planning for the Unknown: Creating a Will Before Your Trip

Creating a Will may not be the foremost thing on your mind when traveling, but anything can happen on the road ... photo by CC user neuroprofesor on pixabay

Nobody likes to think about danger or disaster, especially when planning an exciting trip. After all, going on a trip is supposed to be about getting away from all the everyday stresses and responsibilities of daily life. But consider this: quieting all the niggling doubts at the back of your mind is the surest way to create a restful emotional state, with your affairs in order and all in safe hands whatever the future may hold.

Doing the Groundwork

The first step in making a Will is to take stock of possessions, and there are likely far more than you thought at first. It’s a bit like packing to move house, you wonder where all those possessions came from when you’re faced with a mountain of boxes. 

Draw up a list of everything you own, right down to gaming characters, social media accounts and intellectual properties. You can group things in categories where you have several items of the same type, for instance collections of similar items. In the list, also note down the location of physical copies of documents or passwords for online accounts. Consider who’ll need access to them, and set this up if proxy permissions are needed. An excel document is handy for this type of thing, but remember to tell people how to access it if you keep it on your computer or in cloud storage.

Writing a Will

Choose a solicitor, either by recommendation or through the service offered on the Law Society website. Going through a solicitor is the preferred method, because they have the experience and professional training to know exactly what’s needed, how to phrase your wishes and can make sure nothing is overlooked.

Alternatives include Will Writing Services, but they’re unregulated so careful choice is needed. Look for one that belongs to The Institute of Professional Will Writers, as they should have a code of practice that’s approved by the Trading Standards Institute and includes a clear complaints procedure.

The third method is via a template you can get on the High Street, but take care with this unless you know what you’re doing. It’s very easy to introduce ambiguities which can make your wishes hard to understand or impossible to carry out.

Important Considerations

Providing for children or non-married partners in a Will is crucial to make sure your estate goes where you intend. Children can’t inherit until they’re 18, so minors need legal guardians who’ll care for their daily needs and safeguard their financial future. You might also want to set up some kind of trust if you consider a sudden large inheritance at 18 would be too much for them to handle responsibly.

Non-married partners have no right of inheritance unless they’re named in a Will, and neither do stepchildren. In both these circumstances, hardship and heartache could follow if you don’t make adequate provisions for them.

Beyond Family and Friends

Making a Will also lets you support favourite charities through legacies or gifts. For many charities, being remembered in a Will is their lifeline in the battle to raise funds. It’s as easy as leaving a bequest to anyone else – simply name them (along with the registered charity number) and state what you’re leaving them.

Amidst all the exciting plans about itineraries and exotic experiences, keep your feet on the ground just a while longer and set aside some time to create your Will. It’s not hard, doesn’t take all that long, and by being responsible now you can indulge in a more carefree time later without guilt or worry.