Information About Wills

Why make a Will?

Whatever the size of your estate, you should always leave a clear and legally binding statement of your wishes. Making a Will is the only way of guaranteeing that your wishes are respected after you are no longer here. We can discuss with you the best way of ensuring that your intentions for your property, possessions and investments will be carried out should the worst happen. We believe your Will is one of the most important documents that you will ever sign and should be dealt with by a specialist in this area.

What is a Will?

A Will is a legally binding document which sets out what you want to happen to your possessions in the event of your death and who you wish to receive these ( ie your chosen beneficiaries).   It also allows you to appoint Guardians for minor children as well as allowing you to nominate the people who you would like to act as your Executors and Trustees.

A Will is made by a person individually only ie you cannot have a joint Will document. However, spouses can enter into mirror wills which are two separate Wills reflecting the same wishes for each other ( in basic terms).

Do I need a Will?

Usually yes. If you own any property or have a minor children then you definitely need one. If you are unsure, please contact us and I will confirm.

Other reasons to make a Will include:-

  • To ensure your property is distributed in line with your wishes, especially if you wish to provide for someone outside the family, an unmarried partner or a charitable organisation.
  • Without a Will, your family could face a large Inheritance tax bill that could have been mitigated by careful estate planning.
  • A Will can help avoid dispute between relatives.
  • A Will can ensure that assets pass down the bloodline.

When should I make a Will?

In order to enter into this you must have capacity to do so, ie you must be capable of understanding the nature and effect of the document.

If you wait until your mental health deteriorates, this could mean that you are unable to enter into a Will and matters then become difficult upon death.

Other circumstances when a Will should be made or reviewed include:

  • A marriage or remarriage ( as an existing Will is no longer valid)
  • A divorce (as an existing Will remains valid except the gift to the ex-spouse is effectively cancelled)
  • Having a child
  • Receiving an inheritance
  • Buying Property
  • If any executors/ trustees/guardians/ beneficiaries predecease you or become mentally incapacitated.

What do the Definitions within a Will mean?

  • The person making the Will is called The Testator.
  • The people who receive gifts under the Will are called the Beneficiaries.
  • The people who administer the Will are called Executors.
  • The people who manage any trust within the Will are called Trustees.
  • The person or people you appoint as your Guardians for your minor children will become legally responsible for looking after your children in the event of your death.

What to consider when making your Will

  • Who would you want to be guardian(s) for your children?
  • Who will be your Executor(s) – to carry out your wishes as set out in your will?
  • Do you want to burden your family with potential Inheritance Tax liabilities – will they be able to cope at such a difficult time?
  • What are your specific requests for funeral arrangements?
  • Do you want to leave family heirlooms and bequests of money – who they go to and how much?
  • Do you want to stipulate your funeral wishes?.
  • Do you want to write an Expression of Wishes to support your Will by way of a side letter to the Executors?

What Happens If I die without making a Will?

The Rules of intestacy will apply. This means that the estate will pass to your family members in accordance with these rules and ultimately may mean that the Crown receives the Estate if there are no qualifying family members. Please click here for download an Intestacy flow chart.

How Much Does It Cost to make a Will?

Online charges – single will £21.50.

Our Face to face charges are usually £185 for a single Will and £290 for mirror Wills.

Additional charges are payable where more complex wills are required. You will always be given a costs estimate at the outset.

Our objective is to ensure that everyone who needs a Will can arrange them and that the cost should not to be prohibitive.

For more information or to arrange an appointment with Melanie, please Contact Us.