Making a Will
Advice that ensures your will reflects your wishes and services to support your family, your financial planning for your estate, your life and your retirement
Your will (sometimes also referred to as your last will and testament) is really nothing more than a legal document that states who you want to inherit your estate – your property, possessions, money, savings etc - when you die. It may also stipulate who you want to administer the process of distributing your assets, which is the legal procedure called probate. For most people, the importance of a will is to make sure that their loved ones are looked after or provided for when they are gone. Even if you don't think you have enough money or don't own many assets, it's still important for you to make a will to avoid unnecessary problems for your loved ones after your death.
The importance of acting now
Thinking about drafting a will is often low down on our list of things to do. Some see it as an unwelcome reminder of their own mortality, while for youngsters it is probably the last thing on their mind. Even older people, who you'd suppose had given it some thought, are dragging their heels and sadly 60% of those aged 60 or over in the UK still don't have a will. Many think that making a will is a time consuming and expensive process, but this isn't the case. No matter what your age, it's important to have a will because if you die without one, the law will dictate how your property and money will be distributed. Our free guide about how to make a will explains in more detail why it is important to do so.
The benefits of making a will
Having a will is vital if you have children who will require provision and arrangements to be made for them should both their parents die. A will also provides tax saving opportunities for your loved ones so you can maximise the amount of money they get even with inheritance tax. Leaving a legacy donation in your will is also an effective way to reduce the inheritance tax burden as well as doing some good, as this article in Your Money.com explains. A will also ensures that unmarried couples or those in a civil partnership can inherit from each other without the legal red tape and financial problems that would otherwise hold things up.
Do I have to use a solicitor?
There is no absolute legal requirement for a will to be drawn up or witnessed by a solicitor, so some people turn to the pre-packaged 'do-it-yourself will' kits or use online will writers. These options are certainly convenient and may seem relatively cheap compared with getting a solicitor involved (although you often find that you've got to pay more for additional documents to be downloaded from the internet) but there are dangers in using them which can cause problems after your death. Sorting out disputes that arise could result in significant legal costs, reducing the amount of money left in your estate and unless very carefully drawn up, there may be other unexpected surprises in store for your loved ones.
The importance of getting it right
We recommend that you always use a solicitor for making a will to ensure your wishes are arranged exactly as you want them to be carried out. Of course, we would say that wouldn't we? But it is better to be safe than sorry and there are some more complicated circumstances when it's strongly advisable to use a solicitor to make a will. That's especially true if you wish to make provision for a dependant who is unable to care for themselves or you're British, but your permanent home is outside of the United Kingdom. You should also get a solicitor involved if you're not a British citizen or you own assets or properties overseas. If you own or are involved in a business or share property with someone who is not your husband, wife or civil partner, then having a solicitor draw up your will ensures that things are watertight and reflect your wishes precisely.
Challenging a will
There may be some circumstances where you are contesting a will. Perhaps you believe the will is invalid or that it doesn't adequately provide for you. If you're involved in a dispute regarding a will, you must seek legal advice as early as possible and we can help there too.
Why use Shoosmiths Access Legal?
Quite simply, we are the experts in the provision of specialist advice to ensure your will is set up properly and your loved ones are protected. Our team will work with you to ease you through the process and advise you every step of the way. We offer fixed fees for our wills at competitive rates and do everything we can to keep our costs affordable and attractive. We also offer free storage of wills and other documents such as title deeds. Whether you just need a straightforward will leaving your estate to your spouse or partner or have more complex family arrangements and requirements, we can help.
Find out more about making a will
If you want to make or update a will, are concerned about family arrangements or have any other problems, call us or contact us online for an initial free consultation. Our helpline on 03700 868 686 is available seven days a week and lines are open Monday to Friday 8 am to 8 pm, Saturday 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday 10 am to 4 pm.