A Will is one of the most important legal documents you can create in life, as it serves to protect your financial assets after you have passed away. Despite this, a large majority of the British population currently have no valid Will in place. Whether this is due to a misunderstanding of the law, avoidance of the subject matter, or just simple procrastination, the reluctance that people have towards estate planning can end up costing family members as well as other potential beneficiaries the inheritance they were rightfully due. The more assets we accrue throughout our lives, the more essential a Will becomes and dying without one becomes a worrying prospect. That’s why at Pickering & Butters, we help people from all walks of life to plan for the future. Every day, our specialist Wills solicitors assist clients in the drafting of their Wills, providing the pragmatic advice they need to protect their assets before it’s too late.
Why choose Pickering & Butters Wills solicitors?
Making a Will is a way of ensuring you are in full control of what happens and who receives what after you’re gone. It’s also a good opportunity to appoint guardians for any children; to make arrangements for any beneficiaries with special needs through the use of trusts, and to ensure that none of your beneficiaries are stung by tax laws through inheritance tax planning. With so much at stake, it makes sense to choose an accomplished solicitor you can trust to prioritise your interests. That’s where we come in. At Pickering & Butters, our team of Wills solicitors are dedicated to assisting our clients through the process of Will writing, working meticulously but efficiently to ensure no stone is left unturned.
From high-net worth estates to those with more modest assets, our solicitors have vast experience in preparing wills that can accommodate a wide range of financial or logistical situations, right up to the most complex. While our team consists of industry leading specialists, our approachable and friendly nature allows our clients to feel comfortable discussing their objectives with us, knowing that their Will is in safe hands. Before the drafting takes place, our Wills solicitors take the time to gain an in-depth understanding of your individual situation, from your family history to your personal requirements. That way, you can guarantee that the final copy will enshrine your precise wishes and that these will be carried out to the letter after you have died.
What should I include in my Will?
Before setting out to make a Will, you should take the time to consider all the assets you own and who should benefit from your estate. Financial assets could include property (residential or commercial), savings, your vehicle or vehicles and any shares you have in a business. As well as family members and friends, you may want to donate an amount of your estate to a charity of your choice. If you have any children who would be below the age of 18 when you die, your Will should also state who will act as their legal guardian once you are gone. You may also wish to make arrangements to assist your children financially in the future by setting up a trust, such as one they can access when they turn 18 or 25.
Other considerations to make before instructing your solicitor include whom you would like to appoint as the executor of the Will. The executor will be responsible for the administration of your estate after you have passed – they will be the one to ensure it is distributed according to the wishes set out in the Will, so choose wisely. You may appoint multiple executors (up to 4),. You can also specify within your Last Will & Testament any particular wishes you may have for your funeral arrangements and how you wish your body to be dealt with after death.
What is the process of writing a Will?
The process of writing a Will is fairly straightforward, however, mistakes are easily made when people opt for the DIY approach. Whilst online Will writing services offer a bargain on prices, the slightest error can result in an invalid Will – and if you aren’t aware that it’s invalid, your intended beneficiaries could face the same outcome as if a will had never been created at all. Seeking the legal support of a specialist solicitor will provide the peace of mind that your assets are protected no matter what should happen.
When you instruct one of our expert Wills solicitors, we will first discuss with you your situation and provide tailored advice where needed. You may wish to discuss inheritance tax, particular family circumstances and possibly trusts. These are all aspects we will be happy to guide you through before the Will itself is created.
Next, your solicitor will draft your Will based on your requirements. Once complete, this will be sent to you for you to review in case any amendments are needed. If no changes are necessary, your solicitor will prepare a final version of the Will.
You will then be required to attend a final appointment with your Wills solicitor in order to sign the document. This will involve the attendance of witnesses, who we will arrange, signing the Will after you as a final validation of the document. You will then be given a copy of your Will, and our solicitors will safeguard the original within a secure storage facility in our office. Your Will is now legal and valid, and will ensure that your chosen beneficiaries will inherit from your estate.
What are the laws of intestacy?
It is a common misconception that if you die without leaving a will, your spouse or civil partner will routinely receive your entire estate. However, this is not always the case and, depending on the circumstances, those that you care about may find that they do not receive the assets you intended for them to have. This is because the laws of Intestacy dictate how an estate is divided when a will has not been made.
According to the laws of intestacy, if a person dies without a valid Will, the first £250,000 from their estate is automatically given to their spouse or civil partner. Where a couple are not married or in a civil partnership, the closest living relative of the deceased will inherit the first £250,000. After this the estate is distributed in accordance with rules dependent upon whether or not you have left children.
Therefore having a valid Will in place is essential to ensure that the decisions you make regarding your financial assets are honoured.
Click here to view a selection of frequently asked questions about making a will.