A well drafted up to date will ensures that your precise wishes are carried out after your death.
The importance of making a will
If you have never made a will, then you should do so as soon as you can. As well as making an often difficult and distressing time easier for loved ones you leave behind, you need to plan for what will happen when you are gone.
If you already have a will, it is important to ensure that it continues to reflect your up to date wishes. If your personal circumstances change, for example by marriage or on divorce, you will need to make a new will. Taking the right legal advice could avoid your will being challenged after your death.
I haven't got much to leave my loved ones - do I need a will?
Yes you do!
As well as ensuring that what you have got goes to the people of your choice, you should consider making a will if any of the following apply:
- you own or share a property
- you are married or have recently separated
- you have any lump sum or death-in-service entitlements that may be paid into your estate if you pass away
- you have children
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and there are many other reasons as to why you should make a will.
Can I just write a will myself?
We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice before making a will. A homemade will can lead to problems - it may also lead to your will being declared invalid.
- If you have left certain beneficiaries out of your will, depending on their relationship to you, they may be entitled to claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
- If a will has not been signed and witnessed correctly, it can be declared invalid leading to your estate being administered under the Intestacy Rules.
- Amending your will after it has been signed or marking it in any way, can lead to the will becoming invalid.
- If you have an estate worth in excess of the inheritance tax threshold and if you do not make a will that takes this into account, then unnecessary amounts of Inheritance Tax may be payable on your estate.
What if I have been divorced or remarried since making my will?
If you have divorced since making your will, it is likely that it needs changing. If you have remarried since making your will, it has probably now been automatically revoked.
What happens if I don't leave a will?
If you die intestate – that is without a valid will, or with one that covers only part of your assets – your wishes may not be carried out.
In this case the Law will apply a statutory formula to decide division of your assets, which varies depending on who is left behind.
A properly prepared and up-to-date will can simplify the administration of a deceased estate, and we are available to guide you through what can be a complex process.
Save Tax by leaving to Charity
Charities are completely exempt from Inheritance Tax on bequests under wills - by leaving a bequest to charity, the level of Inheritance Tax payable by your estate may be reduced.
Can I challenge a will?
If you feel you have been treated unfairly under a will, it is possible to legally challenge it on a number of grounds.
Get in touch if you feel you have been treated unfairly under a will.