Making A Will

Making a Will is one of the most fundamental aspects of estate planning and the only legal way to guarantee that your wishes will be fulfilled when you’re gone.

Making a Will is incredibly important yet over half of UK adults don’t have one – Do you know the true cost of dying without one?

Are you one of the 60% of Britons who haven’t made a Will? If so, you may end up leaving much of your wealth to the Government instead of your family and loved ones.

Without a proper, well-thought out Will, it’s unlikely your final wishes will be carried out the way you would want.

Wouldn’t you rather that money went to people you choose, instead?

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Do I really need a Will?

If you’re not rich and you don’t have a big collection of gold, jewels, or art, you may be thinking you don’t really need to make a Will. After all, your situation is fairly simple. But if you own your own home, you probably have much more wealth than you think.

Whatever the size of your estate, making a Will ensures there’s someone to sort out all of your affairs, administer everything, and make sure your wishes are granted. It will also make life much easier for your family and loved ones. If you have a Will, everything will be very clear.

Unfortunately, many people do not appreciate its importance.

Although many people think everything will automatically go their partner or children, that is not always the case and without a Will it is entirely possible that your wealth could go to people you don’t know very well – or at all.

Therefore, a Will is required to ensure your wishes are fulfilled and the security of your loved ones its guaranteed.

Without a Will You May Be in for a Nasty Surprise

Blog: What Would Happen if You Died Without a Will?

Some time ago, an unmarried couple who had been together for more than 30 years came into one of our offices. They didn’t have children but were shocked to discover that if one of them died their assets wouldn’t go to the other partner. They had thought the “common law wife” concept would protect them. No such concept exists in UK law.

Because each person owned everything in their individual names all assets would have passed to their respective families. And because the property they lived in was solely in the man’s name things would have been particularly difficult if he died first. Under the intestacy rules his estranged brother would have inherited the house. The partner wouldn’t have received any part of the property and would have had to make a claim against the estate. With a Will in place they are now both protected.

Plan Ahead and Secure Your (and your loved ones) Future

No one likes to think about their own death, yet few of us would want to see loved ones struggling in our absence, particularly at what is unquestionably an emotionally distressing time for them. Drafting a Will, however, can help alleviate such concerns.

To find out more about the importance of Will read our article: Your Will – Planning Ahead for Peace for Mind

Making a Will takes away any guesswork and reduces the risk of any disputes. Not only are you ensuring your wishes are fulfilled, you can ensure your family and friends don’t have to deal with difficult administrative affairs while they’re grieving for you, and arguably even more importantly, remove the need for loved one to have to guess at what you would have wanted for your funeral and distribution of your estate.

This painless process will ensure that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes, leaving you assured that proper provision has been made for those you feel should benefit.

If you get a professional to help you, you can be sure your wishes are clear and will be complied with.

Take advantage of our complimentary initial consultation today. Whether you think you need a Will or not, it won’t cost you anything except a little time to speak to one of our friendly, experienced Later Living legal experts who can help you work out what the best option is for you and your loved ones.

Complimentary Initial Consultation

Contact us today to arrange your complimentary consultation with one of our legal experts

Get in touch

Whilst it is not obligatory by law to prepare a Will there are numerous advantages in doing so, as outlined below.

The legal process will be much simpler

If you do make a Will then the legal process in dealing with your affairs after you’re gone will be easier and much less painful during what is an already difficult time for your loved ones.

Where a Will has not been made, the individual will have died intestate. This can often create unnecessary distress and financial difficulties for family members whilst your affairs are dealt with.

You can name your beneficiaries

By making a Will you can retain control over who will receive your assets upon your death.

In the absence of a Will, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the laws on intestacy, which could result in family, friends and charities missing out altogether or not receiving what you would like them to.

This is particularly pertinent to unmarried couples, or same sex couples who have not entered into a civil partnership.

Under current law, on intestacy unmarried couples do not inherit from their partner.

Drafting a Will is the only way to ensure that the people you choose will be provided for in the event of your death.

You may appoint guardians of your choice

If you are the parent of young children, you will want to protect their future should anything happen to you.

Making a Will enables you to appoint a legal guardian of your choice to look after your children until they reach the age of eighteen. Of course, permission will need to be obtained from your chosen guardian before the Will is drawn up.

Where a Will has not been drawn, the courts will appoint someone on the deceased's behalf - someone you may not have chosen.

Minimise the inheritance tax bill

Drafting a Will may also allow your assets to be distributed in a way that reduces your inheritance tax liability and thus maximises the amount that will be passed to your beneficiaries.

However, early planning is recommended if you wish to take full advantage of the tax opportunities that may be available to you.

Nominate executors of your choice

When making a Will you will be required to nominate one or two individuals, often family members, to deal with your affairs upon your death.

Doing so will leave you confident in the knowledge that your affairs will be handled in accordance with your wishes by someone you trust and your family will be left with clear directions on how to deal with your estate.

To find out more about your options as an Executor read our blog: Executor's Responsibilities - It May Not Be As Simple As You Think

Preparing your Will

Whilst it is possible to write a Will yourself, it is advisable to seek assistance as the legal requirements can prove somewhat perplexing.

This is where we can help.

Our highly experienced and knowledgeable team of solicitors and legal experts can advise you on all matters in this process, including possible inheritance tax liabilities.

Before consulting a solicitor or legal expert, however, you should give some thought to the contents of your Will:

Compile a list of your possessions including property, cars, jewellery, home contents, bank or building society accounts, shares and life insurance. You should also name your beneficiaries and choose a legal guardian for any children under 18 years of age.

A key element in making a Will is the naming of executors: An executor is the person responsible for passing on your estate. These are often unpaid friends or family members, typically a spouse or partner, but can be paid professionals such as solicitors or a bank or building society.

Before nominating your executors, you should obtain their permission.

For a Will to be valid, the document must be signed by the person making the Will (the testator) or signed on the testator's behalf in his or her presence and by his or her direction. This must be done in the presence of two witnesses who then sign the Will in the presence of the testator.

Anyone who is capable of understanding the nature and effect of what they are doing and is not blind, may act as a witness. However, the individual should not be a beneficiary of the Will or married to, or be the civil partner of, a beneficiary.

In these circumstances the Will remains a valid and legal document, but the gift to the beneficiary cannot be paid.

Keeping your Will Up to Date

Once your Will has been drafted, it is imperative that you keep it up to date.

A Will should ideally be reviewed every five years and after any significant life event, such as marriage, divorce or a birth or death in the immediate family.

Moving house would also prompt a revision. Any change may be made by 'codicil' (an addition, amendment or supplement to a Will) or by making a new Will.

And finally, ensure your Will is stored in a secure environment. The document may be held with a solicitor or deposited with a probate registry for a small fee.

Our Offices

The solicitors across our 9 offices in the South of England are experienced in all matters relating to Wills. Get in touch with your local office to arrange making your Will.

How We Can Help

Take advantage of our complimentary initial consultation and meet with one of our friendly and experienced legal experts simply call 0800 999 4437.

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