Wills & Inheritance
If you are looking for help with advice or preparation in relation to a Will our specialist solicitors can help you.
In addition to office meetings, we offer remote meetings by telephone or video conferencing if required.
Many people never get round to making a will and some people find the whole process rather daunting.
Not having a valid will in place can cause problems and financial worry for your loved ones.
If you pass away without having a will, then the law will dictate how your assets and estate is distributed and it is entirely possible that this is not in line with your wishes.
Whether you are single, cohabiting, married or divorced, you will need a will to ensure that your assets will be distributed in accordance with your wishes.
Entering into a marriage or civil partnership automatically cancels a will you have in place prior to the union (unless it clearly stated in the will that it is made in anticipation of marriage or civil partnership). Also, if you have a valid will and you have subsequently divorced or dissolved a civil partnership, the will automatically reads as if your ex-spouse or ex-civil partner has passed away, but the rest of your will would still be valid. This could potentially mean that the will no longer reflects your wishes or even that some or all of it is no longer effective.
It is extremely important that you take the time to have a will prepared, as a will ensures that your wishes are carried out and provides peace of mind.
A will should be reviewed on a regular basis, especially if life circumstances have changed, for example, in the event of the birth of a child, new relationship, death of a relative or loved one or if you were to acquire assets during your life time.
What We Can Do
We can provide legal advice and prepare a single simple will on your behalf to ensure that your wishes are met when you pass away. We can also prepare mirror wills for couples, whether you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting together.
If it is more convenient for us to visit you at home, then this is a service we may be able to offer you. We also offer remote assistance by Skype and telephone if necessary.
Alongside our will service, we advise and assist in relation to Power of Attorney work to ensure you are protected in the event of an accident or illness that prevents you from making decisions.
Our Past Cases
Below are some will cases we have conducted in the past:
Prepared mirror wills for clients to include a provision to appoint a Guardian for their young children in case they pass away while their children are minors.
Drafted a will for a client to ensure their estate will be dealt with in accordance with their wishes on their death.
Severed joint tenancy for a client and subsequently prepared a will on their behalf to ensure their ex-spouse would not inherit their share in the property.
What We Offer You
Out of Hours
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to prepare a Will?
It is a common misconception that only the elderly require Wills, but the reality is that everybody should prepare a Will, especially if those that have children. Not having a Will can cause problems and financial worry for loved ones. It is important that you take the time to write a Will and make provisions to meet future financial needs.
At what age can I make a Will?
You must be at least 18 years old to make a Will. However, there are exceptions - if you are a soldier on active duty or a sailor at sea, you can be any age to make a Will.
I am married – do I really need a Will?
Yes, you do. If you are married and pass away leaving a spouse and children, then your estate will be split.
Your spouse would inherit all personal belongings and the first £250,000 of your estate.
Anything on top of £250,000 is divided in two. The first half goes to the surviving spouse and the other half goes to the deceased’s children in equal shares when they reach the age of 18.
This could potentially create a situation whereby the surviving partner does not automatically inherit the family home.
What happens if I die without a Will?
When somebody passes away and they have not left a valid Will, this is known as dying intestate.
The deceased’s estate is divided in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy.
These rules determine who inherits – this is dependent on what surviving family the deceased has and the size of the estate.
Only married or civil partners and some other close blood relatives can inherit under the Rules of Intestacy.
Dying intestate is likely to mean that your estate will not pass to who you want and it is also possible that your wishes may not be fulfilled.
What is involved in making a Will?
Firstly, you need to prepare a list of all your assets and estimate their value. You then can make a separate note of any debts and/or liabilities you have. Using this information, you can calculate how much your estate is worth.
The next thing to do is decide who you want to inherit from your estate by clearly specifying their full name and address next to the asset you want them to have. Then carefully think about who you want to receive the residue of your estate – this is all property or money left over after paying administrative and funeral expenses, legacies and any tax.
You then need to think about who you want to appoint as Executors. They are the people who deal with distributing your estate and their role comes into force as soon as you pass away.
If you have children under 18, you should appoint a testamentary guardian to ensure that your children are looked after a person of your choice in the event that you pass away whilst they are minor.
What if I want to exclude someone from my Will?
If you want to exclude someone from inheriting from you estate, it is even more important for you to prepare a Will which reflects this wish, as your Will allows you to leave your estate to whoever you like.
A provision can then be included in your Will to clearly exclude someone and this will limit any potential claims they have against your estate.
What is a Codicil and why would I need one?
There is no specific time, but a Will should be reviewed on a regular basis – it is suggested at least every 5 years or so.
However, it is strongly recommended that you review your Will if your life circumstances have changed, for example, in the event of the birth of a child, new relationship, death of a relative or loved one or if you acquire further assets since preparing your Will.
Who can witness a Will being signed?
A witness must be independent and needs to be over 18 years old. You need witnesses for a Will to be valid.
Alongside the solicitor who prepares the Will, neighbours, friends and work colleagues are the most common people asked to witness a Will. Another option is a Doctor/GP and this is particularly advisable if the person making the Will could be considered as vulnerable.
It is extremely important that a witness is not a beneficiary or potential beneficiary named in the Will, nor should they be a spouse or civil partner of such person, as the beneficiary would then lose their rights to inherit under the Will.
A witness cannot be related to the person preparing the Will, the executors named in the Will or any beneficiaries by blood, marriage or civil partnership.