A Will is one of those things that everyone should have and yet only about a third of people bother.
Why make a Will?
Here are 10 good reasons why you should make a Will:
- The Intestacy rules may well not divide your estate as you would wish or expect
- Step-children and cohabitees are not included under intestacy
- If intestate, no-one has power to deal with your estate until an Administrator is appointed, whereas an Executor named in a Will has power immediately
- You can be tax‐efficient in a Will ‐ don’t pay inheritance tax unnecessarily
- You can use trusts to delay inheritance for children or grandchildren until they reach an age when they are ready to manage money and property
- You can take pleasure in leaving pecuniary legacies to those good causes that you care most about, eg charities
- You can provide for elderly or disabled relatives
- You can leave personal chattels and pecuniary legacies to friends and Godchildren
- A Will can help avoid expensive litigation after your death
- You can appoint Guardians to look after your children in a Will
Some common misunderstandings about Wills
“But I have nothing to leave”
WRONG! It is a common misunderstanding that you need to be wealthy to need a Will. This is not necessarily the case. Many people own their own house or have life assurance policies, investments, building society accounts and shares. Those assets alone could be worth very large sums of money. It would be irresponsible not to ensure that they were dealt with properly.
“But making a Will is complicated”
WRONG! Nothing could be further from the truth. Most Wills are straightforward. A straightforward Will can be prepared by us from fairly brief instructions. However, if your estate is more complicated, then we advise you of the best way to arrange your affairs to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible for your executors and beneficiaries.
“But everything will go to my nearest relative anyway”
WRONG! Many people assume that when they die their next of kin, for example, a husband, wife or child will automatically receive the whole of their estate. This is not always so.
When a person dies without having made a Will, the laws of Intestacy will apply and it is those rules which govern who gets what. For example in the case of someone who dies leaving a husband or a wife but no children, the husband or wife can find that they are sharing the estate with the spouse’s brothers, sister or parents.
“But I have made my own Will”
Making your own Will can be a risky business. The problem is that you will not be around to tell everyone what you really meant to say. The end result may be that your Will fails to do what you expected it would. This can result in expensive litigation to work out what you wanted and family members can even fall out over your homemade Will. Click here for more information on Will disputes.
If you take our advice you will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your estate will be dealt with as you wished.
“But my Solicitor made a Will for me years ago”
You should always keep your Will under review as your circumstances change. Marriage usually invalidates an earlier Will entirely and divorce can make part of a Will ineffective. Separation will not prevent a spouse from benefitting from a prior Will or under the rules of intestacy.
It is essential that your Will is kept up to date. Any major changes in your life could affect it.
“But who will carry out my wishes?”
An Executor is a person who will be responsible for looking after your affairs when you die and you should, therefore, choose someone who you know and trust.
If, however, there is no one that you feel would be able to do this for you, then we would be pleased to act as your Executor either alone or jointly with a friend or relative.
We have a specialist department of experienced solicitors who can provide excellent advice to help you make the right decisions for the future. We ensure that your Will expresses your wishes and is legally valid. We can advise you on inheritance law and taxation and help avoid a costly dispute after your death.
If you would like to fill in our Will Questionnaire to get started, please click here, and then return the form to us by e-mail. Or click on one of the three boxes below.