1. By making a Will you can ensure that your money and property is left to the people that you want to benefit and not simply dictated by rule of law.
2. If there is no Will when you die, the Rules of Intestacy will govern how your assets are distributed and there is a very strict order of entitlement.
3. If you are co-habiting with a partner but have not married them at the time of your death they would not automatically be entitled to receive anything from your estate unless you have made provision for them in your Will. The Rules of Intestacy do not allow for unmarried partners to benefit from a deceased’s estate.
4. You can have a Will written in such a way as to make the distribution of your estate as tax efficient as possible.
5. By making a Will, you can appoint people that you trust to be the Executors. They will be the people who will deal with everything after your death and ensure that the terms of your Will are followed.
6. You can make provision in your Will for who should benefit if any of your named beneficiaries have failed to survive you so that you can cover most eventualities.
7. You have the flexibility to make reasonable conditions on gifts made in your Will. This could include stating an age at which your children or grandchildren should be entitled to receive the monies from your estate rather than having an age imposed by law. For example, not everyone is comfortable with leaving a large sum of money for someone to access at the age of 18 but would prefer to postpone the age at which they receive the capital sum. This can be achieved by expressing your wishes in your Will.
8. You can change your Will as many times as you wish before you die. Provided the Will is valid, it will always be the case that the latest Will that you sign will be the one which governs the distribution of your estate when you die.
9. The cost of making a Will now can save your estate a considerable amount of expense in the future. Administering an estate where there is no Will in place can cause additional difficulties and complexities which will only serve to add to the overall costs involved.
10. If you have young children you can appoint guardians in your Will who would be appointed to care for your children in the event of your death. By making such a provision in your Will, it is enabling you to appoint people of your choice and giving you the opportunity to discuss it with them and ensure that they would be happy to take on that role should it be necessary.
11. You can ensure that your Executors and family are aware of your funeral wishes by expressing them in your Will and you can make your instructions as simple or as detailed as you wish.
Why It Makes Sense To Have A Professionally Drafted Will
It is estimated that around 50% of the population in the UK do not have a Will in place. The reasons for this can range from the mistaken belief that it will be very expensive to simply never getting around to it. The truth is that none of us like to think that the inevitable will one day happen but this is not a reason for delaying making your Will. Whilst our eventual death may be inevitable, leaving financial problems and issues for our loved ones need not be. It does therefore make sense for us all to give some time and thought to what we would want to happen and who we would want to benefit in the event of our death.
It may seem very straightforward to simply write out your own Will and leave it for your relatives to deal with. However, homemade Wills, if incorrectly drafted, can cause major problems which could, in the worst case scenario, necessitate the Probate Court becoming involved to settle any dispute.
Sorting out problems could cost the estate thousands of pounds all of which could have been avoided if the Will had been professionally drafted in the first place. Although you will need to pay a solicitor for preparing your Will, you have the peace of mind of knowing that, in the unlikely event, that there was a major problem caused after your death due to a mistake in drafting by a professional, they have the cover of professional indemnity insurance. There is no such security with a homemade Will.
As important as the drafting of the Will itself, is how the Will is witnessed. If incorrectly witnessed, it can lead to the Will being invalid or a particular beneficiary losing their entitlement under the Will which is clearly something that needs to be avoided.
It is also the case that if proper provision has not been made in the Will, your estate could still be administered as an intestacy simply because thought had not been given to who should benefit if the person you have named in your Will is no longer alive at the time of your death. Specific wording in a Will is very important to avoid there being any misunderstanding as to a person’s wishes. If a Will has to be interpreted by a Court because of lack of certainty, that could cost thousands of pounds which would be money lost to the estate.
Leaving a house or land can be particularly problematic because there are varying ways in which property can be owned. It is therefore essential that when drafting a Will proper consideration is given to how the asset is owned because this could have bearing on whether or not the person is actually able to leave the property under their Will. By consulting a solicitor, all of these matters can be properly discussed and investigated to ensure that the Will that you make is not only accurate but capable of being administered after your death.
Here at Hardington Hogg, we recognise the importance of everyone having a valid Will. If you are aged over 18, and particularly if you own a Property, you should make a Will. It is also extremely important that if you have young children you give consideration to how they should be provided for in the event of your death and all of these aspects can be covered in your Will.
Our fees for drafting a Will are £175.00 plus VAT for a straightforward Will for one person. Mirror Wills for partners or spouses i.e. where each party’s Will mirror the other would be £325.00 plus VAT. If more complicated Wills are required or trusts need to be established, we would discuss your requirements with you at the initial meeting and then provide you with an estimate of our fees based on your requirements.
We can also offer a free storage facility for your Wills and Deeds should you wish us to keep the original documents on your behalf.