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10 Top Questions about Wills

Call us for advice if you have any questions about making a will but here are the most common ones clients ask us
  1. How much does a Will cost?  - our fees are fixed, very competitive and guaranteed. A simple single person's Will costs just £149.00 plus VAT @ 20% (£178.80) and a simple couple's mirror will costs just £199.00 plus VAT @ 20% (£238.80)
  2. Do I need a Will? - if you die without leaving a valid Will, your estate is said to be "intestate". The intestacy rules then dictate who receives your estate. What the rules say and what you want may be hugely different. 
  3. Why can't I write it myself? - you can but if you use an experienced wills solicitor to do it for you, you and your estate are protected if something goes wrong and you can be confident there are no mistakes or ambiguities which might create problems in the future.
  4. What is an Executor? - in your will you say who you want to be your Executor. You can have more than one and they can also be a beneficiary. Their role is to look after your assets when you die, make sure your debts are paid from your assets and carry out the terms of your will.   Executors need to be responsible people who you trust. You can appoint your solicitor to act as a professional Executor alone or with others. Many of our clients prefer this because the legal responsibilities and more personal aspects of dealing with your affairs can be shared    
  5. What is Inheritance Tax? - Inheritance Tax is paid on estates worth more than £325,000.00. The rate of tax is 40% on anything over that amount. Executors have to arrange to pay the tax although they are not personally liable for it. Most banks will allow the Executors to use the deceased's bank account for this purpose. Normally the tax must be paid by the end of the sixth month after death otherwise HMRC will charge interest. Sometimes assets have to be sold to meet the Inheritance Tax liability. There is no tax to pay if the deceased left the whole of their estate to their spouse or civil partner.
  6. Who can witness my Will? - witnesses must be capable of understanding what they are doing. We advise that witnesses are over 18 and that they can be easily traced in case any questions are raised about the validity of the will at a later date. Beneficiaries, their spouses or civil partners should not be witnesses because they would then lose their inheritance. Executors can be witnesses provided they are not also beneficiaries.
  7. Where should I keep my Will? - it goes without saying that as your Will is a very important document you should keep it in a safe place. Many clients leave their wills in safe keeping with us and keep a copy at home. This service is free of charge. 
  8. How often should I update my Will? - you should review your will every 2-3 years or whenever anything siginficant happens in your financial or personal life.
  9. What arrangements can I make for my children? - if your children are under 18 when you die, your will can appoint a legal guardian or guardians to look after them on a day to day basis. Your will can also set up a trust to make sure that your children are financially provided for after your death. These will trusts can be simple or quite complex depending on what arrangements you want to make and how valuable your estate is. Specialist advice on will trusts is most definitely recommended to avoid future problems.
  10. Can my Executor look after my financial affairs if I an no longer do so myself? - the answer is no. Your Executors can only act when you have died. If you lose your ability (physically or mentally) to look after your affairs while you are alive then you will need to appoint an Attorney or Attorneys under a Lasting Power of Attorney. Please click here for further information. 

If you have any questions about making your will - call us today for a free consultation on 01616 387 505 and ask for Andrea Belshaw 

 

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Andrea Belshaw
Private Client Partner
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