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Wills and Later Life Planning
Why make a Will?
A properly drafted and correctly signed Will is the only way to ensure that your family, friends and charities you care about receive the sums or gifts that you would like them to receive.
Instructions in your Will
Your Will can include instructions as to whom you would like to act as legal guardian(s) to your children to minimise distress, avoid disputes and ensure your children receive the correct upbringing.
You can direct your executors as to whether you would like to be buried or cremated or if you would prefer an eco-friendly green burial, for example.
You can make provisions for your pets and specifically set out to whom items of sentimental value should be gifted (and give reasons why, if you wish).
Many people decide not to make a Will because they consider the Intestacy rules (which will govern the distribution of your assets in the absence of a Will) to be sufficient. In many cases however, this is misguided, as, although parts of your estate may go to your family under the rules of Intestacy, these may not be the family members or the amounts that you wish them to receive.
The Intestacy rules do not cater for the modern family. For example, a surviving partner of an unmarried couple has no right to an inheritance if there is no Will in place and in some cases will find themselves in extreme financial difficulty as a result. There is no such thing as a ‘common law husband / wife’.
Under current legislation everybody has an Inheritance Tax free threshold of £325,000 but a surviving spouse or civil partner can benefit from any unused portion of their spouse or partner’s allowance and could double up the inheritance tax threshold to as much as £650,000 on the second death. Getting the right advice will ensure that your family do not end up having to pay more Inheritance Tax than they need to.
When to update your Will
One of the biggest reasons to change your Will is if you have married, re-married or divorced since making it. Marriage revokes a Will, so if you are have not made a Will since getting married you should make it a priority. If you divorce or have your marriage annulled or declared void after signing your Will, the appointment of your former husband or wife as Executor or Trustee will automatically be cancelled. In addition, any gift to them will lapse. The same will apply to the appointment of or any gift to a civil partner on the dissolution of a civil partnership. In these circumstances it is advisable to prepare a new Will after your divorce.
Why you should use a solicitor
Homemade Wills (including those templates available in many shops) can lead to a variety of problems. Something important may be left out and the Will could even be invalid and could lead to unexpected problems, resulting in having to seek unnecessary professional advice. This can cause a lot of distress for those involved and can ultimately make it a more expensive and complicated process. Accordingly, we recommend that you make a Will and then review the contents of your Will on a regular basis to take account of the factors mentioned above and any changes in tax legislation which may have occurred since your Will was prepared.
Who can be appointed as executor
Anyone who is aged 18 or over can act as an executor providing that they are of full mental capacity. This can be your spouse, your adult children or another member of your family or close friend. You can also appoint your solicitor to act as your executor or another professional. You may decide to appoint a professional executor if your affairs are particularly complicated or you wish to ensure that other executors receive the appropriate help and guidance to deal with your estate. An executor can also be a beneficiary of your estate.
We are able to provide the following fixed fee Wills:
Single Simple Will (without the need for trusts or tax planning): £195 plus VAT
Joint Mirror Wills (without the need for trusts or tax planning): £250 plus VAT
Should you require tax and / or care fee planning advice then we will let you have a competitive fee estimate as soon as we have taken your full instructions.
Please do not hesitate to contact Sam Reid by email or call 01392 209205.
Important Information For Your Protection:
We welcome your enquiry but please be assured that the use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm, does not establish a solicitor-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.