The comfort that comes with knowing your wishes will be followed
There are many reasons why you might have decided to make your Will, or to review a Will you already have in place. We will listen carefully to your objectives, and make sure your Will achieves them
You may have experienced a major life change or event, such as a marriage, a property purchase, a separation, or other change to your family circumstances. There could also be financial factors affecting your decision to write or review your Will, such as a desire to save inheritance tax. You may want to go ahead simply because you know that writing a Will is a responsible and sensible thing to do.
Regardless why you have taken the decision to write a Will, it is important it is drafted by a specialist Solicitor who can make sure that it is valid, accurately reflects your wishes and, where necessary, provides protection against potential threats to family wealth such as tax and divorce. This is where we can assist you, providing the comfort of knowing that your wishes will be followed after your death.
For more information on writing a Will, or appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact us.
Your wishes, carried out as you choose
Decisions on who you will leave your assets and possessions to and who will deal with your property and affairs after you die are deeply personal. They can also have significant consequences for you and your family.
Setting out your wishes in a well written Will is the best way to be sure matters will be settled in the way you choose. You may also want to decide who to appoint as your executor, or explore setting up a trust.
We can support you in all of these decisions.
When is a good time for me to make a new Will?
Write or review your Will if:
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Legal 500, 2019
Balancing interests with tact and sensitivity
We understand that there may be family circumstances that call for tact and sensitivity if Will disputes are to be avoided. We regularly help clients to balance the needs of different beneficiaries, for example where you have married again and have children from your first marriage. Whatever personal requirements you have, you can trust us to help you meet them.
No one wants to think about what happens when they are gone, so sitting down to write a Will can seem like a challenging task. We make the process straightforward. Our expert team will make sure your family, loved ones and charitable causes are supported. You can write a Will at any age, and you don’t have to have significant money or assets.
With a Will in place you will have:
Do I really need a Will?
Yes. Even if your bank account balance just covers your monthly bills and you don’t have children, own property, or have substantive savings, you should still make a Will. One reason is that having a Will clears a lot of red tape for your friends and family. Another, it means there are less likely to be misunderstandings as to what you may have intended when you are gone. Having a Will also saves your executors time and money during the administration of your estate.
How can I make a legally binding Will?
It's important to ensure a Will is legally binding. A Will must be made by someone of least 18 years old, made voluntarily and without pressure from anyone and made by a person of sound mind (this means the person must be fully aware of the nature of the document and of the property and identity of the people who may inherit). A Will also has to be in writing and signed by the person making it and two witnesses, and all have to sign in the presence of each other. A witness or the married partner of a witness cannot benefit from a Will. If a witness is a beneficiary (or the married partner or civil partner of a beneficiary), the Will is still valid but the beneficiary will not be able to inherit under the Will. Although it will be legally valid even if it is not dated, it is advisable to ensure that the Will also includes the date on which it is signed. As you can see, there are many factors to bear in mind to ensure a Will is legally binding.
Should I review my Will from time to time?
Yes. It's important that you review your Will at least every year or two, or whenever you undergo a major life change, such as getting married or committing to a serious relationship or buying property. This ensures your Will reflects your wishes, which may change over time.
What is an executor?
An executor is a person named in your Will who sorts out your estate (i.e. everything you own, including money, property and possessions) once you are gone and ensure your wishes as set out in your Will are followed.
I am an executor. Am I legally responsible if things go wrong ?
Executors bear a lot of responsibility. They are expected to administer the estate of the deceased in line with the deceased's Will and exercise reasonable
care and skill in doing so. If things go wrong, an executor can be held personally liable. As well as acting as executors for many of our client's, we also advise executors to ensure they are fulfilling their duties properly.
If a Solicitor holds someone's Will, do they automatically act as executor of the deceased's estate?
No, whilst it is often the case that a Solicitor is appointed by the person making a Will to act as an executor, this is not always the case.
Do I have to act as executor if I am named as executor in someone's Will?
Hopefully the deceased will have asked if you would be executor at the time they made their Will. If they have not, when they die, if you do not wish to act as executor or if you agreed to be executor but no longer wish to act, you can ‘renounce’ your role. To do this, you will need to sign a Deed of Renunciation. This is a legal document which can be drawn up by a Solicitor.
What is intestacy?
This is the condition of a deceased's estate when the deceased has died without making a valid Will. Their property is shared out according to certain rules prescribed by law. The rules may result in the estate being shared in a way the deceased would not have wanted. This is why it is important to make a Will because it ensures your wishes are followed on your death.
Can I make changes to my Will?
Yes. If you want to make small changes to your Will you can sign a document called a "Codicil" that outlines all the changes. If you want to make substantial changes to your Will, it's usually easier to write a new one. It’s also important to re-visit your Will every year or two, or whenever you undergo a major life change, such as getting married or committing to a serious relationship or buying property.
What happens when someone dies without a Will?
If someone dies without having a valid Will (referred to as having died intestate), their money, property and possessions will be distributed according to the law. This may not accord with what the deceased would have wanted - for example, their estate might pass to someone they did not want to benefit or someone the deceased did want to benefit, might not benefit at all.