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How do you choose a beneficiary for your Will?

When you're writing a Will online, the most important step - the whole purpose of the document in fact! - is to select a beneficiary who will inherit the property according to your preferences.

In most cases, this will be someone who is a close relative - a family member such as your children, spouse or a sibling. In some cases, it may be a friend or a personal contact, and there are opportunities for the beneficiary of a Will to be an organisation or a charity that you want to support with your resources and assets in the event of your death.

Your beneficiary will be looked after according to your wishes, if you have a legal Will in place. This makes the entire process easier, and removes any concerns or friction points.

How do you choose your beneficiary?

The most important question to ask is, do you have any dependants? Do you have anyone to whom you have or feel a sense of responsibility, even in your death? If you have a child who is a minor for example, they ought to be taken care of as a matter of priority and should be a beneficiary.

If you do not name your dependant children as beneficiaries, there will be complications, as they will have a claim to your estate. However, in most cases a parent will be making a Will with the express purpose of ensuring their children are cared and provided for.

Beyond dependants, it becomes a matter of personal preference. There may be people in your life that mean a great deal, that take priority or that you want to continue to support and assist. These are definitely options for beneficiaries as well, whether or not there is a familial relationship.

Friends and acquaintances are just as valid as beneficiaries as any family member, and there is no legal difficulty in naming them. It can be a wonderful way to show the value that you place in your friendship.

Choosing an organisation as a beneficiary is an interesting option. It essentially means that if you are a dedicated member of a charity or a society and you want to continue to be a part of their work, you can name them to receive a part of your estate. If you're passionate about conservation and sustainability for example, you might name a non-profit organisation who work in that space as a beneficiary so that you can provide them with financial assistance and assets no matter what happens.

That beneficiary option is a good way to think about and preserve your legacy, to keep yourself focused on the good that you've managed to achieve, and what is important to you next as well. Some of our users who have set up online wills have been excited about taking that step, because it means that they can represent and take a stand for their personal values and mission.

Making the choice of a beneficiary is not easy, but it's a step that allows you to start thinking seriously about the future in a good way. A starting point might be having the conversation in person with the people you're thinking about naming and opening up the topic!

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Disclaimer: Willed is a technology platform that allows you to create your own estate planning solutions using our forms and other information. Willed is not a law firm and does not provide legal, financial, taxation or other advice. If you are unsure whether our estate planning solutions are suitable for your personal circumstances, legal advice should be sought from a law firm, such as Vault Legal.