As you move through life, your circumstances change. You may get married, have children, buy property, make investments. No-one likes to think about dying but there comes a time when you need to think about what will happen to the people you love and the things you own when you are gone.
Making a Will is so important. It means you can be prepared for whatever the future holds, making the process of sorting out your estate much easier for those you leave behind.
Think carefully about what you want to include in your Will and key decisions such as who would look after your children. Don’t assume that your partner will inherit everything. If you’re not married or in a civil partnership, your assets will pass automatically to your nearest blood relative.
By instructing a solicitor, you can ensure your Will is valid as there are various legal formalities which need to be followed correctly, providing you with the reassurance that your wishes are carried out.
It is never too early or late to make a Will. You can be as young as 18 years old to make a Will and there is no upper age limit, provided that at the time of making your will you are of ‘sound testamentary capacity’. This means that you are mentally capable of understanding what you are doing and the implications of signing your will.
None of us knows what is around the corner, but by making a Will you are prepared for whatever the future holds. It is important to take the time to sit and reflect on who receives your estate. By doing this you are retaining the control and not allowing the law to decide.
It is easy for couples to assume their partner will inherit everything but if you are not married or in a civil partnership, your assets will pass automatically to your nearest living blood relative.
You may not be aware that your spouse or civil partner may not receive everything if there is no valid will. Your spouse will receive from the estate, all personal possessions and up to the first £270,000. Anything above this amount is divided in two, with half going to any surviving children (at the age of 18 years) and half to your spouse.
Choosing Who Will Carry Out Your Wishes (Executors)
One of the most important decisions to make when preparing your will, is who you trust to distribute your estate (your possessions, money, property etc.) This could be a close relative, a close friend or a professional such as a solicitor. The role of executor is crucial to ensuring your wishes are followed.
You may want to appoint a family friend or a professional to deal with your estate, making what is a really tough time for your family a little easier. In the absence of a will, the Intestacy Rules decide who is entitled to deal with your estate and it will often mean that family members need to be involved.
You may have a business and want to appoint an appropriate person(s) as executor(s) to carry on the running of the business from the date of your death until all of your affairs have been sorted, taking the pressure off your family who would have otherwise had to act.
Choosing Who inherits Your Estate (Beneficiaries)
You can choose the person(s) you want to benefit from your estate and, if required, receive advice on incorporating a trust in your will for tax efficiency or other reasons. For example, you may have a new spouse or partner and have children from a previous relationship and want to make sure that your children receive something on your death – a trust can be incorporated to ensure that your spouse or partner and your children benefit (It is important to note that if you have remarried since making a previous will, that will is now revoked and you will need to make a new will (It is important to note that if you have remarried since making a previous will, that will is now revoked and you will need to make a new will).
In the absence of a will, the Intestacy Rules outline who benefits from your estate and in what percentages. Take a look at our handy guide. Often the reaction will be “my husband will get it all anyway” or “it will all go to my wife and then to the kids so there’s no need to make a will”. If the value of your estate is more than £270,000, your husband or wife will only receive the sum of £270,000 (plus any personal possessions) and 50% of the rest of your estate – this may not result in an Inheritance Tax charge on your death, but may mean that your husband or wife is not as well provided for as you intended.
If You Have Children
If you have children under the age of 18, it is important to appoint guardians for them in your will. If you do not make a will, or do not appoint guardians in your will, the guardianship of the children will often depend on the circumstances at the date of your death. It is important to make your wishes known.
Seeking expert legal advice from a solicitor is key in helping you prepare your will. Trying to make your own will without legal advice could lead to mistakes, as any small error in the wording is open to interpretation which can cause problems and, at worst, make the will invalid. There has been an increase in the number of inheritance disputes in the last year and this has been largely fuelled by the popularity of DIY wills.
By instructing a solicitor, they will ensure your will is valid as there are various legal formalities which need to be followed correctly, providing you with the reassurance that your wishes are carried out.
Once the Will is signed, it is paramount that the original is kept safe. As a firm, we are able to offer storage of the original will free of charge and provide you with a copy to share with your executor(s).
Make an appointment with our expert team today and let us help. We always try to accommodate your requirements to make it convenient for you. We can usually offer home visits and hospital visits but during the COVID-19 pandemic we are conducting all appointments over the telephone or via video calls.
Get in touch with the team today by clicking here.