Without a will the State directs who inherits your property after you die. It means that your relatives, friends and favourite charities may get nothing.
It is especially important to make a will if you are not married to your partner because the law does not automatically give partners the same rights as husbands and wives. If you die without making a will it means that your partner could be left with nothing even if you have lived together for years, or may face costly litigation.
A will is also vital if you have children or dependants you cannot look after themselves. Without a will there can be uncertainty as to who looks after or provides for them if you die.
We will also advise on how inheritance tax affects what you own.
Taking legal advice regarding your will is especially important where:
- Several people could make a claim on your estate when you die because they depend on you financially
- Your permanent home is not in the UK or you are not a British citizen
- You live here but your have overseas property or you own all or part of a business.
Once you have made your will some events can make all or part of that will invalid or inadequate for example, if you or your children get married,, separated or divorced, or become seriously ill.
It is important therefore to review your will regularly to reflect these changes. We can advise you on what will be necessary to update your will.
What we will need to know
What you own
Details of everything you own, including property, cars, personal valuables, stocks and shares, bank accounts, insurance policies, any businesses you own and pensions..
Who gets what?
Who do you want to leave what to? How do you want to divide your property between loved ones, friends or charities? Are there any conditions you want to attach to these gifts?
Family and other beneficiaries
We will need to know about your family and your marital status. Are you divorced, re-married or living with a partner? Do you have any children or dependants?
If you have any children who may be under 18 when you die you may need to chose someone to be a legal guardian for them.
Do you have any particular wishes for your funeral? Do you want to be buried or cremated? Are there any other instructions?
Executors of your will
You must also name the people you want to appoint as executors of your will. These are the people who carry out the administration of your will after your death. Executors can be friends or family or a professional such as ourselves. Ideally one executor should be familiar with financial matters. Make sure that your executors agree to the duty as it is a long-term responsibility.
Signing the will
The will becomes effective once it has been signed. There are strict rules for signing the will to ensure that it is valid but we will assist you with this.
Where to keep the will
Your will can either be kept here or you can keep it in a safe place yourself. Either way tell a family member or an executor where it is.
Keeping your will up to date
It is important to keep your will up to date especially if there has been any major life change for example, a marriage, a divorce, having a child or moving house.