A Will is a legal document that provides for the distribution of your estate after your death. Not having a Will means you will die intestate and your estate will pass in accordance to the set rules of intestacy.
It is estimated that 67% of the UK adult population don’t have a valid will.
From our experience people don’t always appreciate the real need for a Will and with ever more complicated family scenarios it has never been more important.
Another common misconception people have is that they only need a simple will.
There are roughly 2 million single parent families around the UK and it is therefore incredibly important that you have a Will to ensure that your children inherit if you were to pass away. This may not be the case if you were separated but not divorced.
Another consideration is that you can appoint guardians for your (minor) children via your Will. Not doing so would mean that the courts would appoint guardians on your behalf and the appointed individuals may not be the people you would have chosen. You can also leave direction with your Will as to how you would like your children brought up if you were absent.
Unmarried couples. Common law partners have no right to inherit under the laws of intestacy and a Will is the only way to help ensure that they will benefit from your estate.
Some people are fearful that if they leave parts of their estate to specified beneficiaries that it will be wasted or fritted away. A suitably qualified Will writing can assist with the creation of a trust to make provision for these circumstances.
Many naïve individuals write their own Wills under the belief that will be admissible at probate. Without the assistance of a professional important factors such as the consideration of previously made gifts or previous spouses could cause all sorts of problems. What may seem like a simple estate could soon turn into an estate planning minefield.
Even when it comes to the procedures of signing the Will people have come undone. A simple clerical error like signing in the wrong place could cause all sorts of problems.
What goes in your Will?
The distribution of your estate including specific gifts.
The appointment of Guardians, Trustees and Executors.
The treatment of property (distribution of shares and allowing continued occupation).
Business Interests to ensure continuity of business practice.
Provision for the care of pets.
If you already have a Will but would like to make amendments then this can be done by either rewriting or adding a codicil. We advise that Wills are reviewed every 3-5 years to take into account changes in family circumstances.
Another commonly heard expression is “I have nothing worth giving”. Even if this is the case it is important to assess your estate to ensure that what you do have goes to the specified beneficiaries.
Whatever advice you are given when meeting with your Will consultant, it is only advice and does not have to be acted upon. If you don’t agree or do not wish to action the advice then you are not obliged.
As a customer, if your consultant meets you in your home then on receipt of their terms of business you have 14 days with which to consider the agreement and cancel with entitlement to a full refund.
You face a number of choices when making your Will. Where to store it is one of them. There are a number of places that you may choose, from your bank to the Will Writer, or even at home. The important thing is to notify your executors where your Will is should anything happen.
By far the most important decision to make when drafting your Will and its contents is to ensure that the person drafting the Will is suitably qualified. Anyone can hold themselves out as a Will Writer as no formal qualifications are required.
As such it is advised that you use a member of a professional trade association like the Society of Will Writers. SWW members are indemnified, fully trained and vetted on entry.
As they adhere to a strict Code of Practice members of the public can be sure that members act with integrity and professionalism in their best interest.