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Writing a Will
Writing a Will can seem straightforward, but Wills are as complicated as any area of Law.
The incorrect use of commonly used words can alter the legal meaning of gifts, and cause more problems than they solve. We will not only be able to make sure that you have the right Will, but we can talk you through the different options, such as the use of Trusts and whether or not they would be appropriate in your circumstances.
You may have an existing Will and are wondering whether or not you actually need a new Will? The thing about the Law is that it is constantly changing, so to make sure that your Will is current and up-to-date with the latest legislation then you must have it reviewed periodically. For example – if your beneficiaries move this is not a reason you will need to update your Will, but if you have a ‘Discretionary Wills Trust’ put in your Will to save inheritance tax, then it is worth discussing whether or not this is still advisable.
I hold two specific degree equivalent certificates in Wills and Succession and the STEP Diploma in Will Preparation.
Do I need a Will?
You may have wondered if you even need a Will, surely your family would just be able to take over your assets? Sometimes, yes, but only after a long complicated administrative process. Whereas if you have a Will the authority to deal with a persons assets comes from the Will, and is applicable immediately. This could mean that there would be no person with the right to insure your property, or access funds for maintenance.
The only way to make things simple for your family or friends is to get a professionally drawn Will. Perhaps you have young children, and are worried about who would look after them? Or you are unmarried with a co-habiting partner? These situations mean a Will is an absolute necessity.
What if I do not have a Will?
Your closest relative (according to the intestacy provisions https://www.gov.uk/inherits-someone-dies-without-will) would have to apply to the Court to be appointed administrator. If there are two relatives with the same level of rights, then one or both can apply. If there is disharmony then this could be a contentious issue.
Your estate would ultimately be divided amongst your closest relatives. If you were separated but not divorced, your Spouse or Civil Partner would be the primary beneficiary. If you are unmarried, without children, your parents would inherit equally. The intestacy provisions are strict and relatives would inherit equally despite any previous estrangement.
Is my Will a ‘simple Will’?
A simple Will is a Will where you appoint an executor (or two), a substitute, then a guardian for children. It would contain no more than 2-3 specific gifts and gifts of set sums of money, and then distribute the residue amongst your chosen beneficiaries. Usually this would be a maximum of 3-4, with simple provisions as to what would happen if they were unable to inherit. More complex Wills have more beneficiaries, gifts, and may contain a clause dealing with a property.