Protecting your assets now and later.
Our expert solicitors write highly competent wills and can offer estate planning services to help organise your assets, so that those who inherit your estate will not need to pay more inheritance tax than they need to once you are gone. Not only are we experienced with complex wishes and relationships, we also aim to reduce or nullify the headline 40% inheritance tax burden.
With a will, you have the freedom to: control how your estate will be divided, minimize inheritance tax, exclude certain people from benefitting, gift specific items to specific people, and ensure your wishes are legally binding.
Benefits of drafting a will
A will can give you certainty and confidence in the following:
- That your wishes will be upheld in the event of your death
- Being able to name all the beneficiaries to your will (i.e. who will inherit) – these could be spouses, children, friends, family, charities, organisations, etc
- Protection and security for your unmarried partner
- Specific sums from your estate or percentages of it can be allocated
- Determination of who cares for your children
- Who will carry out the wishes in the will (your executor)
Creating wills is not restricted to any age group and is advised for anyone over the age of 18. With a will, you are able to decide what happens to your estate after your death. Your estate includes everything you own including property, money, certain rights which you can pass upon your death, personal items, and so on.. If you fail to draft a will before you die or die without a valid will (called dying intestate), the law determines how to execute your property – even if you have verbally told your family your wishes, they may not match the intestacy rules and your assets could end up going somewhere you don’t want.
If you and your partner are neither married nor in a civil partnership, they would not automatically benefit from your death without a will, no matter how long you have been together, even if you have children. The best means of ensuring your wishes are met after your death is through a will.
Some wills may be more complex than others, especially in situations such as where there is overseas property, a business or shared property with an individual that is not your partner. There can also be complexity where there are people who have been financially dependent upon you but are not provided for in your will. Wills should ideally be updated every five years or so to accommodate any life, relationship or other changes. We are able to provide legal advice for all aspects of the will drafting and execution process as well as safe storage of your will. We are also able to assist in the amendments of existing wills so for any will related enquiries, contact us for a consultation.
How do I know my Will is valid?
A valid will must be in writing and signed by you in the presence of two adult witnesses. The two witnesses must also have signed the will in your presence and neither them nor their spouses should be included in the Will as beneficiaries. Further, you must be of sound mind, over the age of 18, and have made the will voluntarily. The creation of a new will revokes all other previous ones.
Surprisingly, 50 percent of people in the UK die without a will. Even those who have a will may be unaware assets can be taxed by up to 40% before they are inherited, this includes property and even gifts that you may have given over the last 7 years of your life.
The Dangers of DIY Wills
Writing your own will probably sounds like it would cost a whole lot less than hiring a solicitor to write one for you. However, if you don’t know what you are doing, or if you make one small mistake, you could end up leaving your family/friends in a difficult position after you are gone. If there is a mistake or if the will has not been witnessed correctly, the document could be completely void. Writing your own Will can be risky and without the correct expertise, your life’s work could either be reduced by nearly half due to inheritance tax, or fall into the complete wrong hands.