Solicitor and partner at Bridge Sanderson Munro
One question I am frequently asked by clients (and socially!) is whether it is really necessary to make a Will. Whatever your personal and financial situation may be, the answer will almost always be yes. If you do not make a Will then on death your estate will be distributed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy which can produce some unexpected and unfortunate results.
Who needs to make a will?
Everybody should make a will, regardless of whether you think you have an Estate or not. You might think you have nothing to leave. However, everybody has something to leave their loved ones, even if it is just your wishes to be carried out when you have passed away.
What happens if I don’t make a will?
Are you married?
It is by no means certain that your surviving spouse will receive your entire estate or even the matrimonial home.
Married with children from a former relationship?
They will be unlikely to benefit at all unless you make a will, and if your own children are in relationships involving step- children then again you should make a will.
If you are not married then your partner will not benefit at all from your estate, even if you are living together.
Without a will you cannot be 100% sure that when the time comes your loved ones will benefit from your estate how you want them to. Is it really worth the risk?
Other benefits to making a will.
You can decide who to appoint as Executors to deal with the Administration of your Estate when the time comes. You can choose from relatives, friends or professional advisors to ensure that your Executors are going to be capable of sorting out your affairs after your death.
You may also wish to appoint someone to act as a Guardian in case any of your children are too young to look after themselves.
Your Will can clearly show your wishes and intentions. You may wish to leave gifts of cash or personal items to certain friends or relatives who would not otherwise benefit from your Estate and conversely you could exclude certain people from receiving any benefit from your Estate if you so wishes.
You can decide how the remainder of your Estate is to be distributed to ensure that your loved ones, trusted friends and perhaps even your favourite charity receive a fair share.
You can incorporate Trusts into your Will to provide a future home for a particular beneficiary or perhaps to reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax payable on your death.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that it is usually much easier to deal with the Administration of an Estate where the deceased has left a Will. In conclusion, I would recommend that everyone should make a Will to ensure that their wishes are carried out following their death with the minimum of distress and difficulty for their family.
How do I go about making my will?
Having said that everyone should make a Will, I would also strongly recommend that you take legal advice as home made Wills can cause more problems than they solve
Many of our clients at Bridge Sanderson Munro are very surprised by how easy it is to make a will. All you have to do is call us at 01302 321621 to arrange an appointment with either me Jonathan Goodwin or Vera Bradley.
The cost of having a Will drawn up by us is only £108 (including V.A.T) for a single Will (£192 for joint Wills) and can provide invaluable peace of mind.
A consultation usually takes around thirty minutes and can also provide the opportunity to discuss other important matters such as Lasting Powers of Attorney and planning for Inheritance Tax and long term care.