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
Seeking legal advice and 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 making a Will with a solicitor you can be confident that your Will is valid, legal formalities are correctly followed, and that your wishes will be 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 your executors – This is someone who you trust to distribute your possessions, money and
property as you wish. It could be a relative, a close friend or a professional such as a solicitor.
If you run a business, you may want to appoint an executor to carry on the running of the business
until all your affairs have been sorted out, to take the pressure off your family.
Choosing your beneficiaries – You can choose who inherits your estate and get advice on
incorporating a trust in your will. Too often, people assume that their spouse and children will inherit
everything but in the absence of a Will, if your estate is worth more than £270,000, your husband or
wife will only receive £270,000 (plus any personal possessions) and 50% of the rest of your estate,
which may mean that they are not as well provided for as you would wish.
Choosing guardians for your children – If you have children under 18, you will need to decide who
would be their legal guardians if you and your partner were to die. If you do not make a Will, the
guardianship of the children will depend on the circumstances at the date of your death, so it is vital
to make your wishes known.
Trying to make your own Will without legal advice could lead to mistakes as any small error in the
wording can cause problems and, at worst, make the Will invalid.
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 will be carried
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