Many people think that making a Will is something you only need to think about in the later stages of life. Others may not ever consider writing a Will at all.
However, a Will is vital for legally protecting your wishes and your loved ones in the event of your passing and we strongly recommend drawing up a Will to safeguard your property and/or assets.
A properly drawn up Will gives you real peace of mind. You can make provision for your partner and family, and rest safe in the knowledge that your wishes will be carried out.
On passing, if you do not have a Will, your assets including your personal possessions, cash, bank accounts, investments, pensions and property will default to the rules of intestacy which may mean that your property, money and other assets could be left to someone you aren’t comfortable with. For example, your estate might pass to a family member you have fallen out with.
A Will written by us, as legal experts can address who the Beneficiaries are in a clear, effective and legally valid way, unlike other available options such as Do It Yourself (DIY) Wills that can be downloaded from the internet for seemingly cheap prices. Often these options can create far more problems than they solve.
Our approachable and friendly team can help with:
- Drafting your Will
- Advice around inheritance tax
- Wills for high net worth individuals
- Statutory Wills
- Contesting or defending a Will
- Updating your Will
Making a Will
Making a Will is one of those things we often say we are going to do, but never seem to get around to. Or maybe it is just too difficult to think about.
Too many things get in the way. Holidays. Painting the hall. Family responsibilities and before you know it, making a Will is at the bottom of the ‘to do list’ and the kids are now adults. However, there is no need to put off making a Will, we can make it easier for you than you may think.
The importance of a well-thought out and well-drafted Will is often underestimated and there a lot of myths to bust surrounding reasons for not making a Will but, there are a lot of good reasons to make one, such as:
- Funeral wishes – An often-overlooked element of making a Will is stating funeral wishes.
- Naming your children’s guardian – One of the most precious things in your life is your children and you want to ensure they are well looked after.
- Beware home-made Wills – It can be tempting to make a home-made Will to save time and money but making a home-made Will can be a false economy, creating needless and avoidable problems.
- Ensure your children/stepchildren are provided for financially – not all children are treated equally where there is no Will, even if you consider all the children to be your children.
- Protect your partner if you are unmarried – your partner has no automatic right to inherit anything under the intestacy rules. There is a common misconception that if a couple cohabits for a period, they become common-law spouses. There is no such concept in English law.
- Safeguard your family home – A life interest property trust in your Will can ensure that your share of the family home will go into trust for your children, rather than directly to your spouse or partner, whilst also ensuring that your surviving spouse or partner can continue to live there.
- Head off family disputes – A well written, clearly thought-out Will can make life a lot easier when you have gone. This is even more so important if your family circumstances or assets are complex, for example if you or your partner have children from previous relationships.
- Avoid paying more inheritance tax than you need to – by way of tax efficient Wills, making use of the Inheritance Tax allowances and lifetime planning.
- Protect you if you are recently married or about to get married – marriage automatically revokes any earlier wills (although a will can be made ‘in contemplation of marriage’ so that it is not revoked). Making a will is a reliable way to make sure that your new spouse is provided for. Contrary to popular belief, the Intestacy Rules may not mean that everything automatically passes to your spouse when you die.
- Protect if you are separated or divorcing – You are still legally married until you receive your Decree Absolute. Therefore, you should consider making a Will, as your estate may pass to your estranged spouse.
- Say who you want to look after your pets – Your pets are part of your family and, when you die, you should think about what will happen to them.
- Protect your digital assets – Increasingly, we are turning to an online, digital life. You may have assets that have value in the digital world. Your Will can protect these assets.
- Support a charity – Using your Will to support a charity is a great way to leave a positive legacy for the future. There are also tax advantages to giving money to charity. Depending on how much of your estate you leave to charity, it can reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that has to be paid so your beneficiaries get the most from your estate.
Read more advice on Wills through our articles linked to this important topic here.