The Importance of Making a Will
Having a valid Will allows you to provide for your loved ones after you have gone and is a certain way to make sure your wishes will be carried out. It will also ease the burden on those left behind who will handle your affairs.
Should you die without making a Will, (or intestate), then intestacy laws take over and dictate how your assets will be divided and how your estate will be managed. These decisions could include; who will look after your children if they are under 18 or how your personal belongings will be divided between your partner and dependents. Having an up to date Will allows you to have peace of mind that all you wish will happen.
There are also tax issues to be considered. Making a Will could reduce the amount of tax to be paid should your estate be over a certain value and your solicitor will give guidance on this.
There is no legal requirement to use a solicitor when making a Will. However, disputes that arise over unclear or poorly drafted Wills can be complicated and costly. Using a solicitor who is qualified in Estate law allows you peace of mind and should also reduce the risk of disputes arising between family members at a later date. Where possible, it is advisable to discuss your plans and wishes with your family or loved ones.
Making a Will does not need to cost a lot of money. A standard Will could start at £100 to £150 plus VAT. Standard costs for two ‘mirror wills’ between partners could be between £150 and £250 plus VAT. Most solicitors will offer home visits to clients living in their area if required but it is advisable to ask if these visits are included in fee costs.
Everyone’s estate value and needs are different and if you have a high value estate, or complicated provision fees may be greater. Your chosen solicitor should provide you with clear information about fees at your first meeting so you will be aware of the cost.
It is important to realise that your circumstances change and so does the law, so always keep your Will reviewed. Solicitors would be happy to take a look at your current Will and make sure it is right for you now.
If you’re thinking about starting the process of writing your Will and wish to discuss your needs with a solicitor, then sign up to Will to Remember today. We can help you save £150 as well as giving you the support and confidence to make informed choices in planning for the future.
Do I Really Need a Will?
by Anna-Marie Knipe
I often get asked the question ‘do I really need a Will?’ and my answer is always the same! Yes, you absolutely do. Wills are not just for the elderly. Anyone over 18 should have an up to date Will, no matter how large or small their estate.
Research shows that one in three people die in the UK without making a Will, potentially leaving their family and friends with acrimony, distress and possible legal fees. Failure to put your affairs in order and make a Will can have devastating effects on your loved ones, leaving them to sort out complex issues in the midst of their grief. Dying without a Will means that inflexible laws, known as the Intestacy Rules, dictate who will receive your money and property. This can mean people who you would not have chosen may inherit from your estate.
In addition to making sure your estate goes to the people who you want it to, your Will allows you to plan for the future and ensure your wishes are met. In your Will, you can stipulate whether you want your body to be buried, cremated or even used for medical research purposes. You can also include instructions for what you would like to happen at your funeral. Your Will is an extremely important document. If it isn’t prepared correctly, it can lead to disastrous and costly consequences. By using a firm of solicitors that specialises in this area of law, you have the reassurance of
knowing that one of the most important documents you will ever make has been prepared by professional experts, who are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
After your death, the executors of your Will are the people who have legal responsibility for sorting out your funeral and are therefore responsible for the costs. But this doesn’t necessarily mean they have to pay for it themselves and then wait to reclaim the money from your estate. Local independent funeral directors are very understanding in these circumstances and will often agree to wait for payment until the grant of probate to your estate is obtained. They will also help your family and executors with the arrangements for the funeral, flowers, announcements in the paper and for burial or cremation. Usually the bank will freeze any accounts held with them until the grant of probate is obtained. However, in some circumstances, banks may pay the funeral director’s bill direct from your money, before the grant of probate is obtained. Your family and/or executors can deal with this themselves. However, they can also instruct solicitors to act on their behalf. At Birchall Blackburn Law, we have considerable experience in making these types of arrangements and, over the years, have dealt with all the main high street banks and building societies. This means we can organise the payment of the funeral expenses and relieve your family of a considerable worry at a time when they need it least.
My advice is to make a Will – seize the opportunity to decide for yourself who should benefit from your money and property, whether it’s your relatives, friends or charities; plan for the future and ensure that your wishes are met.