Making A Will
Making a valid Will ensures that your loved ones will be provided for in the future in the way that you would wish. You can also appoint guardians for your children, as well as Trustees to look after any money you are leaving for them.
We will advise you about Inheritance Tax, if any, that may be payble and advise you on lifetime tax planning.
If you do not leave a Will, there is a risk that some of your loved ones will not receive what you would want and there is also an increased chance that a disagreement could arise, resulting in legal action.
Our expert Will solicitors can work with you to draw up a Will that leaves your estate to those whom you want to benefit from it. We offer a personal service and one-to-one approach, which means that you will have a Will that has been tailored to your unique circumstances.
We will take the time to get to know you and to discuss your options with you. We are friendly and approachable and easy to contact if you need to speak to us. We will be happy to explain the Will writing process to you and to answer any questions you may have.
Our Will Writing fees
We aim to make good quality legal advice available to all, so we make sure that our fees are competitive.
We offer a fixed fee service for straightforward Wills so that you know exactly where you stand. For more complex estates, we will discuss the likely costs with you before we start work.
Will writing FAQs
When should you make a Will?
It is always recommended that all adults have a Will in place. Even if you do not think that your estate is complicated, leaving a valid Will can reassure your loved ones and ensure that they know what your wishes were.
You can leave all of your assets to the people of your choice, including possessions that you know will mean something to those left behind.
It is important to review your Will from time to time, particularly in light of any major life events, such as the birth of a child or if anyone you have appointed as a guardian, trustee, executor or beneficiary should die.
If you marry, your Will automatically becomes invalid, unless it was made in contemplation of your marriage and it specifically makes reference to this. You should therefore make sure that a new Will is put in place if you marry.
What happens if you do not have a Will?
If you should die without leaving a Will, then your estate will pass in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy. This sets out in strict order who will inherit.
By way of example, if you leave a spouse and children, your spouse will inherit the first £270,000 of your estate, plus all of your personal possessions. The remainder of the estate will be split with half going to your spouse and the other half shared equally between your children. This can mean that your children would inherit far less than you might have wished.
There is also a risk that the share that goes to your spouse could be left by them to a third party when they die, or that they could spend it, for example, on care home fees.
By putting a Will in place, you can ensure that your share can pass to your children in due course, although if you wish, you can leave your spouse a life interest in an asset, such as a house, so that they can live there as long as they wish.
You should also be aware that under the Rules of Intestacy, stepchildren and cohabitees will not receive anything.
What are the requirements for a valid Will?
You must be 18 to make a Will. The document must be in writing and signed in the presence of two witnesses. It is important that the witnesses are not named as beneficiaries in the Will nor married to beneficiaries, or the gift to them will fail.
Where should you store your Will?
A Will should be stored somewhere safe and you should keep a receipt with your important papers so that your relatives will know where it is when the time comes. Keeping it stored away from your home is generally safest, as law firms will have fire safety measures in place and the Will will only be accessible to executors on death.
Are DIY Wills a good idea?
Writing your own Will is never a good idea. It is very easy to make a mistake that can invalidate the Will or to include an ambiguous clause that could result in a dispute between family members.
Are mirror Wills a good idea?
Mirror Wills are virtually identical Wills made by a couple. They generally leave everything to each other and then, in the event that one of them has died, to their children.
They can be useful if you both want to leave your assets to the same people, however there are some drawbacks.
Once one of the couple has died, there is nothing to stop the survivor from making a new Will and leaving their estate elsewhere. There is also a risk that they could lose or spend the assets in the estate, for example, paying for care home fees. It is often better to have bespoke Wills drawn up to suit your individual circumstances.
Who can witness a Will?
Two individuals should witness your Will. This should not be your spouse nor a family member and you should choose someone over 18.
The most important thing to remember is that someone who benefits from your Will, or their spouse or civil partner, should not witness it or the gift to them will fail.
What things do you need to consider when making a Will?
When you make a Will, you will firstly want to think about providing for your loved ones after you are gone. This may include setting up a trust for younger family members or those whom you believe may not have the maturity to manage a large sum of money.
You should also think about structuring your estate to minimise the amount of Inheritance Tax that will be payable. Our Wills team are experts in tax and estates and can advise you on the most beneficial way to leave your money.
Who should you choose to be the executor of your Will?
The role of executor can be time consuming and complex. This is the person who will be responsible for winding up your estate and finalising everything. The job includes valuing and collecting in your assets, calculating and paying any Inheritance Tax, clearing and selling any property, discharging all debts and liabilities, preparing detailed estate accounts and distributing the estate to the named beneficiaries.
You should choose someone you trust and whom you believe will be willing and able to take on the task when the time comes.