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Why make a will?
Over 60% of people don’t have a will in place. If you do not make a will intestacy rules will decide how your estate is distributed. This means that your estate will pass to any surviving spouse or children. In some cases this can cause your estate to pass on in ways you may not have wanted example if you’re cohabiting this will mean your children or other blood relatives will inherit instead of your partner, or if you’re remarried your assets will pass on to your spouse and then their children instead of your own. To avoid this and other complications it’s essential to talk to an estate planner to put in place a legally binding Will. Aside from how your estate is distributed a will can also cover other wishes such as what you’d like to happen to pets after your pass or whether you want to be buried or cremated.
Can I write my own Will?
Yes, it is possible to write your own Will, although in most circumstances it is not a good idea. There are general rules for what you say and how you say it, standard ways of writing which remove any confusion about what you mean. Using the wrong wording could mean your instructions aren’t followed, or your will could be declared invalid. There is also the risk of relatives contesting your will, and being ambiguous or forgetting something important could cause problems for your loved ones. If you have simple circumstances such as you want to leave everything to your spouse and eventually your children, and you don’t have complex trust arrangements, foreign property nor do you wish to avoid inheritance tax, then a self-written will should suffice. But if you have more complex circumstances or you want to be sure everything is done correctly you should get in touch with professional will writers such as ourselves.
Do I need an estate planner to make a Will?
A solicitor can also help draft a will for you, but they may not have the knowledge or experience of an Estate Planner. Our consultants have put in place plans for hundreds of people and so have experience of many different circumstances and scenarios and can use that knowledge to advise you on the best way forward. You’re welcome to discuss any plans we suggest with a solicitor to get a second opinion.
What will happen to my estate if I don't have a Will when I die?
If you don't have a Will when you die how your estate is distributed will be decided by the law, this is known as dying "intestate". Dying without a Will means you have no control over who inherits from you, meaning someone in your family could receive some of your estate who you would not wish to benefit. And your loved ones may also find it more difficult and expensive to deal with your estate.
I am not wealthy, do I need a Will?
Yes, if you own any property such as a car, home, furniture, bank account or anything on sentimental value then you should have a Will; otherwise the rules of Intestacy will apply, and you won’t have any control over who they go to. You’re welcome to speak to our consultants to see if we’re the best fit for your needs, we can also recommend providers who can help with less complex estates at low cost.
How often should I review my Will?
You should review your Will at least every three to five years or sooner if your personal circumstances change, for example, if there are new additions to your family such as a new marriages, grandchildren or if there are deaths in your family or any financial changes which affect the amount of inheritance tax you will pay.
Does marriage, civil partnership or divorce affect my Will?
If you marry or enter into a civil partnership after making a Will, it will automatically become invalid unless it states that it is ‘made in contemplation’ of the marriage or civil partnership - this means that the Will is still valid in the event of a marriage or civil partnership. If you get divorced after making Will it remains valid but your spouse won’t inherit any of your estate, and the Rules of Intestacy will apply to that portion of the estate.
What is a Mirror Will?
A Mirror Will is prepared when a couple wants to make almost identical Wills, for example leaving everything to each other respectively and after that to the children, or where there are no children, to a named beneficiary. They must be individual Wills, so in effect, they are separate legal documents with similar content.
I have a disability or visual impairment which makes it difficult for me to read or sign things. Can you help me with my Will?
Yes, we can. If you have any particular requirements, we can take these into account when preparing your Will and guide you through the process of signing and witnessing your Will. We make sure all our clients are fully aware of the process at every stage so you will be left with peace of mind that everything is in order.
Is there anyone who can't make a Will?
To make a Will, you must be over 18 and also have "testamentary capacity" otherwise known as "of sound mind". This means you understand that you are making a Will and the effect that this may have on those who are dependent on you. And also that you understand the extent of your assets and what you are leaving behind.
I have property overseas, can I still make a Will in England?
Yes, you can still make a Will, but you should also have a Will prepared under the local law of that country to comply with local probate and inheritance laws.
How do I protect my children's inheritance if I die before my partner?
There are several options for protecting your children's inheritance if you die before your partner. It all depends on the age of your children when you die and what kind of provisions you would like to make for your partner.
I have a disabled child or a child with learning difficulties. can I make provisions for their care after I have died?
Yes, this can be covered in your Will, our Will Writers have experience of helping families in this situation making sure that your child will be looked after once you pass.
What is sideways disinheritance?
Sideways disinheritance is the name used to describe the circumstances where children, often unintentionally, don’t inherit their parents’ share of an estate due to remarriage. This is because under the laws of intestacy assets automatically pass to your spouse and then on to their children or other family members, rather than your own. Which is why having a robust Will in place is essential if you are remarried.
What is dying intestate and what are the rules of intestacy?
When someone dies without a Will, they are said to have died intestate. In cases like this, the Rules of Intestacy apply and these, which were created in 1925, determine the administration and beneficiaries of the estate.