We know that making a will is something many people put off, but it’s the best way to protect your loved ones. With our will writing solicitors making a will is much easier than you think. To find out how we can help you to create a will tailored to your circumstances, please call 08082747557 or fill in our contact form.
Why is it important to make a will?
In the United Kingdom, less than four out of every ten adults have a will. However, when someone dies without a will, their estate (everything they own) may not be shared in the way they might have wished.
Someone who passes away without making a will dies ‘intestate’. This means their estate is shared according to the rules of intestacy.
Under these rules, the first £270,000 of an estate, plus all personal possessions and half of the remaining amount, passes to the deceased’s spouse or civil partner. Any children receive what is left.
When an estate is shared according to the rules of intestacy, there are many pitfalls.
- When an estate is worth less than £270,000, and there is a surviving spouse or civil partner, children do not inherit anything.
- Grandchildren and great-grandchildren do not inherit from a deceased grandparent unless their parents have died.
- Stepchildren do not receive anything unless they are adopted by the deceased.
- Unmarried partners do not inherit.
- Anybody who is not a blood relative does not inherit. This includes friends, extended family, and charities.
- If a spouse or civil partner inherits the estate, they may decide not to leave anything to children from their partner’s previous marriage in their own will. This means that any money they inherited will not ultimately be shared with children from a previous marriage.
The only way to make sure your wishes are followed is to make a will. With our solicitors, making a will is a smooth, straightforward process. We can help you to explore different scenarios and make sure your wishes are clearly expressed.
To discuss your will, please call our team today at 08082747557.
What are the different types of wills?
There are three main types of wills. Our solicitors can advise you on what is best in your circumstances.
A single will is suitable for single people and those who are married or in a civil partnership. It is an individual will that details how someone would like their estate shared after they have died.
When people are married or in a civil partnership, and they have the same wishes, they may choose mirror wills.
However, there are pitfalls to be aware of with mirror wills. For instance, one person can change the will at any time without notifying the other. In addition, if the deceased spouse had children from a previous marriage, those children may not inherit anything if the surviving spouse changes the will.
Trust wills can maximise and protect assets for beneficiaries. Trust wills can be set up in different ways, depending on the objectives.
For instance, if someone owns a property with their spouse, they could ringfence their half of the house, so if they die, it cannot be sold to pay for their spouse’s residential care fees. This means their part of the property can be passed to other beneficiaries or any family member.
Another example is a will trust set up for vulnerable or young beneficiaries. Trustees can be appointed to look after a beneficiary’s inheritance if they lack mental capacity or until they reach a certain age.
Please contact our will drafting services to seek legal advice about trust wills and how your family could benefit.
Do you need a solicitor when making a will?
Although there is no legal requirement to use a solicitor when making a will, it is strongly advisable.
A solicitor will provide you with professional assistance to ensure your will is legally valid and there are no mistakes. Errors can leave a will open to challenge in court, which can cause stress for your family at the worst time. By seeking a solicitor’s advice, you have the peace of mind that your wishes will be followed in all eventualities.
Solicitors are covered by professional indemnity insurance, so you know that in the unlikely event a mistake is made, your family is protected. Solicitors are bound by a professional code of conduct and are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
When you make a will with QualitySolicitors, we can also help you to plan your estate to minimise Inheritance Tax for your loved ones.
What is the cost of writing a will?
The cost of will writing s depends on the complexity of your circumstances and varies between solicitors and law firms.
With QualitySolicitors, the cost of making a simple will is between £75 and £200 + VAT. If you have assets valued over the Inheritance Tax threshold of £325,000 or a significant portfolio of shares, for example, you may need more detailed legal advice.
Please contact us for an accurate quote and to find out about our will writing services.
At QualitySolicitors, we have a Clear Price Guarantee which means our fees are transparent from the start, and there are no nasty surprises.
What are the requirements of a valid will?
If a will is not legally valid, then an estate is shared according to the rules of intestacy.
To be legally valid, a will must be:
- Created by someone who is at least 18 years old.
- Created voluntarily. A will made by someone placed under pressure by another person is invalid.
- Created by someone of sound mental capacity. They must understand the content of their will and the implications.
- Signed by the person who made the will in the presence of witnesses.
- Signed by two witnesses in the presence of the person who made the will after that person has signed it themselves.
At QualitySolicitors, we can provide independent witnesses to sign your will.
Where should you keep a will?
It is important to keep your will in a safe place and to tell your executor where it is kept.
You can keep your will at home, but you need to make sure it will not get lost or damaged by accident.
To make sure your will is safe, you could leave it with the following:
- A solicitor. As part of our will writing services, QualitySolicitors Firms can store your will free of charge and give you a copy to keep at home.
- An accountant or a bank. There may be a fee to pay.
- HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS). The fee for this service is low. However, while you are alive, only you can access your will, your solicitor cannot request it when you need to update it.
How do you change a will?
Certain milestones may prompt you to change your will. Getting married or entering a civil partnership, getting divorced, having a baby, or the arrival of a new grandchild, for example.
We recommend that you review your will at least every few years to make sure it reflects any changes in your personal or financial circumstances. As part of our will writing services, we can help you review your will to ensure it reflects your wishes.
When you want to change your will, you have two options:
Alter your existing will
If you want to make small changes to your will, such as naming a new executor, you can alter your existing will with a codicil.
A codicil is a simple document that details your changes. It accompanies your existing will, and it must be signed and witnessed.
Make a new will
If you want to make lots of changes, or significant changes, making a new will is the best option to avoid confusion.
To make a new will, you follow all the same processes as when you created the first will. However, there are additional steps that must be taken to make sure the new will revokes the old version:
- The new will must clearly state that it revokes the previous will.
- The old will and all copies must be destroyed.
- The executor must know about the new will and where they can find it.
Can you destroy your will?
A will can be destroyed by the person who made it by burning or tearing it up. Alternatively, the creator of a will can instruct another person to destroy the will on their behalf. It is important to make sure that all copies of the will are also destroyed.
However, destroying a will can be complicated. After a person has died, it may be difficult to establish whether they intended to destroy their will or it was an accident. In addition, to destroy a will the person who created it must be of sound mind and not have been pressured into doing so.
Simply destroying a will can leave matters open to legal challenge later. The safest way to revoke an old will and ensure your current wishes are followed is to create a new will.