Why Make A Will?
One in three people die in the UK without making a Will.
This can lead family and friends to acrimony, confusion and costly legal battles.
Two out of three people who do make a Will fail to do so properly.
This can be just as problematic as not making a Will in the first place and can often lead to disgruntled relatives challenging the Will after your death.
Wills need to be kept up to date, especially if there are any changes in circumstances; marriage, re-marriage, divorce, more children, children coming of age, retirement, the birth of more children.
Clients with more complicated financial or personal affairs, e.g. children from a previous marriage or assets in excess of the Inheritance Tax threshold, require specialist advice.
It is important to name more than one Executor in case of death or serious illness of the first named Executor. Clients will appoint a family member often to act in conjunction with their solicitor.
For clients with younger children guardianship issues need to be resolved to avoid conflicts between other family members in the event of the death of the father and mother.
It is important that your Executors and family are aware of your funeral wishes and often people will take out funeral plans to meet the costs of their funeral and to avoid any unnecessary anxiety on the part of their family following death.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you get married is the Will that you made as a single person still valid?
No. When you marry your existing Will becomes invalid and you must make a new one.
Should you and your wife/husband/partner each have your own Will?
Yes. If there is little difference in your circumstances these can be mirror Wills with broadly the same wording.
If you get divorced, is your ex spouse still entitled to benefit from your Will?
No. Gifts in your Will to your ex spouse become invalid. The rest of your Will remains valid.
If you are separated but not divorced and have not made a Will, is your spouse still entitled to inherit your things?
Yes. If you are separated from your spouse but not divorced, they still have a legal claim to inherit from you until you make a new Will, no matter how long the separation has lasted.
If you live with a partner without being married and don't have a Will, does he or she inherit your belongings in the way that married partners do?
No. He or she will not inherit a penny from you unless you write them into your Will.
If you have not made a Will and have no remaining relatives, who inherits?
Is your Will fixed for the rest of your life?
No. You can make simple changes or additions to your Will by making a "codicil" or by making a new Will as your circumstances change. You can change your Will as many times as you want.
Must your Will be witnessed before it is valid?
Yes. To be legal your Will needs to be witnessed by two people who are not mentioned in it or married to anyone who is mentioned in it and who must witness your signature at the same time as you sign the Will.
Can you use your Will to make sure that your pet is well cared for after your death?
Yes. You can give instructions about who should care for your pet and leave money to do so.
Is it possible to reduce the Inheritance Tax on your estate?
Yes. You can cut the Inheritance Tax bill by making gifts in your lifetime, but you should have professional advice in relation to any tax planning measures that you wish to adopt.
Preparing to Make Your Will
- Make a list of everything that you own including joint property. Include things like money in banks or building societies, as well as your house, your car etc.
- Work out the value of each thing on your list of assets as accurately as possible.
- You will then need to consider who is to benefit from your estate and you must decide:-
- a. Who will get specific legacies of property, such as house or car etc
- b. Who will get gifts of money
- c. Who will get the residue, i.e. remainder of your estate
- You need to appoint an Executor to administer your estate after your death. It is best to appoint more than one Executor to allow for death or serious illness of the Executor. You can choose members of your family or friends, or professionals such as your solicitor who can assist with the legal procedures involved in obtaining probate to your Will.
"We Must Get Around To Making A Will"
The service that we offer allows you to discuss your circumstances and requirements with a solicitor who has many years of experience in this area of law whether by telephone, at your home or at our offices.
We will provide you with our expertise, experience and attention to detail and a Will written to suit your own individual circumstances.
We will provide you with a reassurance of knowing that you have made a sensible provision for your loved ones.
We will undertake a review of your circumstances and make recommendations in order to "put your affairs in order".
We will advise you in relation to tax implications, funeral arrangements, making gifts to charity and property issues.
We will ensure that your Will is executed properly and witnessed in accordance with the strict legal requirements.
We will arrange free storage of your Will and advise your Executors as to its whereabouts, and we will provide ongoing advice to both you and your Executors in relation to any changes in the law which may affect your position in the future.
"Today, I am finally going to do something about my Will!"
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