The Importance of having a Will
Did you know that 31 million people living in the UK have still not got a Will!
Will writing is an important step to ensure that your family is protected in the event of your death.
Having no Will or an invalid Will, can cause difficulties for your loved ones after your death. Your belongings including any property, may not go to the people that you intended to benefit from it.
A Will is one of the most important legal documents you will ever write in your life. It states what you want to happen to your money, belongings and property on your death. Do you really want the Law to decide how your belongings are distributed? A Will is also a vital tool for Inheritance Tax planning.
It is common for couples to choose Mirror Wills. Just as the couple’s wishes may mirror one another, their Wills can also mirror one another.
We pride ourselves in our work and offer a simple, cost effective and robust service. Working with us, you will have peace of mind that you are safe in the knowledge that your affairs are taken care of and those loved ones are considered in the decision making process.
Dying Without a Will, Intestate
- Dying without a Will, or dying intestate, means your money, property and possessions are shared according to the Law instead of your wishes.
- You may create an unnecessary tax bill for your beneficiaries.
- Your unmarried partner could get nothing and be made homeless.
- Your estate may go to people you would not choose, ex-spouse for example.
- If you have no Will, your chosen beneficiaries will not inherit all your assets, no other people not even your spouse will be entitled to the money.
- No Will will also make your existing children wards of the court, as there would be no guardian in place, more often than not the children will be put within the Social System, until the court can find a suitable guardian.
- Ultimately your estate may go to the crown.
Executors are the people nominated to carry out the wishes in your Will. They are responsible for probate, obtaining the grant of probate, collecting the assets, dealing with the paperwork, paying taxes, debts, funeral costs and administration costs. They also transfer assets to beneficiaries.
It is common to appoint 2 executors and they are commonly family or friends. Sometimes professional executors are appointed in the form of solicitors. A professional executor will charge for the service and usually it is either for obtaining the grant of probate only or full estate administration. Although a professional executor will charge sometimes it can be worthwhile as probate can be a lengthy and time consuming process. You should always shop around for the best probate fees as some firms can be very expensive and charge a percentage of the estate which can run into thousands of pounds.
Benefits of Making a Will
Your Will also makes it easier for your family to sort everything out and apply for probate on your death. Probate can be time consuming and complicated, the absence of a Will can make it even more so.
If you have financial dependents you should ensure that they are taken care of via your Will. The laws of intestacy mean the Law decides in the absence of a Will meaning people outside of your immediate family are unlikely to benefit. If you have specific wishes to pass assets outside of your family a Will is imperative.
Like many you may be considering your Will for peace of mind then you should also consider Lasting Powers of Attorney. Your Will protects your assets and loved one in death and LPA protects you in life.
It is possible to make your own DIY Will and we are often asked ‘can I make my own Will?’ Simply yes you can, but we advise against it. Making a Will is not a costly exercise and if it is done wrong it won’t be legally binding. If you are going to spend the time making your wishes known then allow a professional Will writing company to make sure it’s done correctly.
Reviewing Your Will
Don’t forget you should review your Will every five years or if you have a change of circumstances. Examples include, marriage, divorce and having children. If you need to change your Will you should seek advice, you cannot amend the original after it has been witnessed and signed. If you do it will render your Will invalid. Either way a new Will is required or a codicil can be added.
A codicil is a supplement to a Will leaving the rest intact. Examples of a codicil: adding or changing executors, increase a legacy and adding beneficiaries. Codicils should only be used for simple changes and there can be more than one. For major changes a new Will should be written.
Memorandum of Wishes
Useful when you want to give a list of specific items, known as chattels, to particular people. Instead the items would be gifted to the executors and a Memorandum of Wishes requests the executors give certain items to certain people. This allows for changes to be made over time to this document without the need to change the Will. However, you must be sure you trust the executor to carry out these wishes as it is a request rather than a binding wish.
Once written you need to keep your Will safe and tamper proof. At Family Matters we provide secure Will storage for all of our clients. Speak to one of our advisors for more information.
Will Writing Companies like Family Matters
If you are considering Estate Planning and Will writing services from a Will writing solicitor or company and are unsure where to start, our advisors are here to offer free Will writing advice. Contact us today for a no obligation consultation.