What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document which gives details of the persons wishes after their passing.
Do I really need a Will?
You really should have a Will, if you are over 18 and have any assets, children under 18 or if you have a disabled child. If you die without a valid Will in place then you will die ‘intestate’. This means you will lose all control and your wishes may not be carried out as you would have wanted. You will also place your family under unnecessary stress and suffering at an already stressful and emotional time in their life.
I don’t need to make a Will, it will just go to my Spouse/Parents/Children etc.
By dying ‘Intestate’ your estate will follow a set path depending on your relatives that survive you.
Families are also more complicated than they were years ago. People tend to have had children before marriage and also may have remarried and have children with their new partner or step children. This may mean that your Children may be disinherited (left with nothing).
I will do it another day, I have plenty of time.
Death is a bit of a taboo subject, none of us want to think about the inevitable and as a result we put off thinking about making a Will for as long as possible. Unfortunately, not everyone is privileged to live to old age and I am sure you know people that sadly have not done so.
Death does not respect age or circumstances; it can come at anytime and without warning.
What happens if I die without a Will?
If you die without making a Will, or your Will is Invalid, you will die intestate
Avoid the following from happening
- The court will usually appoint close family members should one be available to administer and distribute your estate in accordance to the rules of intestacy (see Intestacy Chart). This was fine when it was created in the Wills act of 1837 but does not really cater for modern life. Many people have more complicated family circumstances, for example children with a previous partner etc. If any relatives cannot be traced then your estate will go to the Crown.
- Your estate going to the wrong people.
- Your spouse or Civil Partner may not inherit all of your estate.
- Your Common Law partner will not receive anything.
- Children under 18 would be taken in to care whilst the court appoints Guardians.
- Lengthy delays from your beneficiaries and potential fallout.
- Your estate may go to the Crown if no relatives can be found.
- The Courts may appointment executors that you may not have wanted to be.
I already have a Will
Great, however it is recommended that people should review their Will every 3-5 years. Have you married since making your last Will? Have any beneficiaries or executors passed away or have your circumstances changed?
Many people do not know that by getting married this automatically revokes your Will unless it was created with anticipation of marriage.
It’s too expensive!
A basic Will may not be as much as you think. However a basic Will may not meet your requirements.
By failing to make a Will then your estate will incur unnecessary charges such as additional court costs, these will far exceed the cost of a Will.
An article in The Telegraph on the 22nd
October 2014 claims a study estimates that dying without a valid Will in place typically costs heirs £9,700 in “lost” assets.
Also by not having a Will there will be no provisions for Inheritance Tax (IHT), if your estate is valued more than the £325,000 threshold then you will be liable for 40% tax anything above and beyond. Just think, you could be gifting the Crown £4000 from every £10,000 above this figure.
It’s too difficult to make a Will
We help to make things simple.
We start by having an informal discussion over the phone about:
- Your assets and liabilities.
- Who your beneficiaries will be.
- If you have young children, who would you want to look after them (guardians).
Once we have established the facts, we will send you a draft list of recommendations based on our discussion. Each report is tailor made for each person.
Once you have confirmed which recommendations you wish to proceed with we will then draft your Will ready for execution.
Who can make a Will?
Anyone who is over 18 years of age and of sound mind, there are however a few exceptions to this rule, for example:
- Under the Mental Health Act 1983, the Court of Protection may approve the making of a Codicil to a Will or a new Will for someone who is deemed mentally incapable of doing one themselves.
- Members of the armed forces are able to make a Will under the age of 18. It is recommended that advice should be taken first.
For more information on how a mentally incapable person can make a Will, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-public-guardian
What makes a Will Valid?
For a Will to be valid the testator must follow these simple rules:
- It should be in writing, appoint an Executor (someone carry out the instructions of the Will) and dispose of any assets (Property/possessions).
- It must be signed by the Testator (the person making the Will). If the testator is blind then Will can be signed on their behalf in their presence and by their direction. The testator must also do this in the presence of two witnesses who must also sign the Will in the presence of the Testator.
Can anyone witness a Will?
Choosing the wrong witness is the main reason gifts within Wills fail. Ensure you follow these basic rules to avoid any disappointment. Don’t forget, if you opt for us to store your Will, we will check to make sure the Will is valid.
The witness must not be:
- Under 18.
- A beneficiary.
- A spouse/Civil partner of a Beneficiary.
- Under the influence of alcohol or drugs .
- Someone who does not understand what they are witnessing.
Giving you Peace of Mind
By making a Will, you will be making everything as simple as possible at a very difficult time by giving a clear set of instructions. This will give both you and your loved one the Peace of Mind that your wishes will be carried out as you wanted.
We aim to offer our customers a quality service at competitve prices. We will never recommend something that is not suitable for you.
For more information please call one of our friendly advisers on 0800 1223 170 who will be more than happy to speak to you.