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Wills

Making a Will to ensure 5 things:

1) Appoint your Executors of your Will 

2) Distribute your estate

3) Mitigate inheritance tax

4) Appoint a legal guardian for children under the age of 18

5) Protect unmarried partners and children from previous relationship

 

What is a Will?
The only way to make sure your money and belongings go to the right people and ensure you don't pay unnecessary taxes to the government is to make a Will.

Do you have property, children, step children, grandchildren? Are you married, remarried, living with a partner, divorced, separated? Yes? Well these are all very good reasons for making a Will.

 

1) Name the Executor of a Will
The Executor of a Will are the people you nominate to carry out your wishes and sort out your finances when you die.
This includes dealing with paperwork and paying off the mortgage or other debts out of money in the estate, so it makes sense to choose a trusted friend or relative as your Executor of Will.
You could select a solicitor, accountant or bank but this may be expensive. It is also advisable to appoint more than one Will Executor, just in case something happens to one of them.

 

2) Distribute your estate
This is where you decide what happens to your belongings including property, money, investments, business, car, life insurance, jewellery and pets.

 

3) Mitigate inheritance tax
The law stipulates that you pay 40% of any assets worth over £325,000. Although there may be no way to avoiding inheritance tax, you may be able to reduce the amount paid.

 

4) Appoint a legal guardian for children under the age of 18
This is particularly important for one parent families or unmarried parents who live together. If there is no Will in place the Court will decide the future of the children.

5) Protect unmarried partners and children from previous relationships
Even if a couple have been cohabiting for a number of years, dying without a Will in place will mean the surviving partner does not inherit the deceased’s estate.

Currently around two thirds of the UK don’t have a Will in place; worrying statistics when you consider the risks.

Writing a Will doesn’t have to be expensive, complicated or morbid and it could save your family a lot of heartache. For just a bit of effort now, you will have the reassurance and security of knowing that when you die, your wishes will be adhered to and the things you’ve worked hard for all your life will go to the right people.

Dying without a Will

Dying without a Will in place means you have died intestate and the State will decide who inherits your estate according to the intestacy rules.

This could leave the people you care about in an extremely vulnerable position; for example, without a Will:

- Unmarried partners can’t inherit from each other
- Children from former marriages may not be provided for if you have remarried
- Provision may not be made for children if both parents die
- Married couples may not inherit the whole estate

Quite simply the intestacy rules are old, antiquated and certainly don’t take into account the more completed lives we lead today so why leave it to chance, make a Will today.

How to Make a Will 

We offer a comprehensive suite of expert will writing services online, postal and home visits nationwide which are designed to make the process of making a will as simple and straightforward as possible. Our expert will writers will guide you through every step of the way, and ensure that your will is a true reflection of your wishes that guarantees you’ve legally taken care of your loved ones when you pass on.


Depending on your requirements, there are a number of different types of Will for you to choose from:a straightforward Single Will

A Basic Will is suitable for people who wish to have a straightforward Will in place to ensure that their assets pass to whom they wish. By preparing a Basic Will, you can choose who you wish to appoint as your executors and guardians of children under 18. You can also make specific gifts of money or property and decide who is to receive the remainder of your estate. Funeral requests can also be included.Options Available Online- Postal - Phone and Home visits
It may be that you have an existing Will in place already, but that your personal circumstances have changed and you need to update your Will


Mirror Wills
If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, you may prefer to make Basic Mirror Wills which are almost identical so that your spouse or partner’s assets are protected too. Options Available Online- Postal - Phone and Home visits 

 

Property Trust Wills can be prepared to protect at least one half of the value of your home from care fees in the event that the survivor of joint home owners requires residential/nursing care later on in life. Property Trust Wills can also be used to protect your children’s inheritance in the event that your spouse/partner re-marries after your death.Home visits appointment recommended



Discretionary Trust Wills can be prepared to protect assets or the interests of beneficiaries themselves (i.e. if one of your children has learning difficulties or is having matrimonial or financial problems). Discretionary Trust Wills are also appropriate where there are business interests, to maximise the availability of Inheritance Tax relief without compromising your long term aims for the family.Home visits appointment recommended


• Flexible Trust Wills
A way of protecting the value of assets for future generations. Your assets are held in a trust which pays income generated to your surviving partner for their lifetime. When your partner has died, the assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.

• Living Will
A living Will or Advanced Decision gives you the opportunity to dictate the type of treatment you wish to receive in the event that you are physically unable to communicate your wishes.

 

Frequently Asked Questions


How much does a Will cost?

The cost of a Will depends on whether you use a DIY Wills template, use a wills online service or go to a solicitor. It will also depend on the complexity of the Will; simple Wills start from around £80 whereas more complex Wills written by a specialist who deals with trusts could cost in the region of £500 to £600.

What should I include in my Will?

You should set out:

• Your executor(s)
• Who you want to benefit from your Will (the beneficiaries)
• What happens if the beneficiaries have died
• Who should look after any children under 18

How can I be sure my Will is secure?

Once you have your Will in place, make sure you tell the Will executor, a close friend or a relative where it is. To keep it safe, you could choose to store your Will:

• with other important documents (like your birth certificate) at home
• with your solicitor
• with your bank
• with a company that offers Wills storage facilities (recommended )

Do I need a Solicitor to make a Will?

You don’t need a Solicitor to make a Will but it may be worth getting either a Solicitor or someone who is suitably qualified in estate planning to check the document once you’ve completed it, just to make sure it is legally valid. Mistakes are easily made so you don’t want any errors causing financial or emotional problems when the time comes.

Also it may be worth getting advice from a solicitor or suitably qualified person if your Will isn’t straightforward. For example:

• You share a property with someone who isn’t your husband, wife or civil partner
• You want to leave money or property to a dependant who can’t care for themselves
• You have several family members who may make a claim on your Will, e.g. a 2nd spouse or children from another marriage
• Your permanent home isn’t in the UK or you are a resident in the UK but have property abroad
• You have a business

How can I be sure my Will is legally valid?

A legally valid Will must be:

• Made by a person who is 18 or over
• Made voluntarily
• Made by a person of sound mind
• In writing
• Signed by the person making the Will in the presence of 2 witnesses
• Signed by the 2 witnesses, in the presence of the person making the Will

The witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the Will and must be over 18. 

How often should I update my Will?

Life is constantly changing so it makes sense to check and where necessary update your Will every few years. You should definitely revisit your Will if you are:


• Getting married, remarried or registering a civil partnership
• Getting divorced, separating or dissolving a civil partnership
• Having children or grandchildren
• Buying or selling property

Or you may have just had a change of heart. What seemed important to you 4 years ago has changed and so you want to reflect this in your Will.


Keep in mind that any changes made to the Will need to be legally valid so it may be worth getting them checked by a solicitor or a qualified specialist

 How can I make a Will?

Making sure you have a legal Will that covers all of your possessions and wishes is vitally important so it’s helps to have support from the experts.

We know that most people don't know where to start when making a Will, so when you make a Will with your chosen legal provider you get legal advice throughout the process

What are the Intestacy Rules?

When someone dies without leaving a valid Will, they are said to have died ‘intestate’. In this situation, the estate must be distributed according to the ‘intestacy rules’, a statutory set of rules that decide who will inherit and in what priority.

You shouldn’t assume that your husband or wife will inherit the whole estate as you may find according to the ‘rules of intestacy’ that although they have priority over other beneficiaries, they may have to share the inheritance with other family members.

Unmarried couples should also seriously consider making a Will because according to the rules of intestacy, they have no inheritance rights and will not even be allowed to administer their partner’s estate.

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