Where there's a Will

Thursday 26th April 2012

‘People must be able to write a Will with confidence, not fear,’ according to a report from the Legal Services Board which calls for Will Writers to be regulated to improve standards. A Will is a document in which a person declares their intention as to what should happen to their estate after their death. The Chairman of the Legal Services Board, David Edmonds, said “Making a Will is something everyone should do. It is one of the most important actions that individuals can undertake.”

Under current legislation Will writing services can be offered by anyone, even if they have no experience. Research has shown that there are significant numbers of people who receive poor service and poor outcomes from their advisors. Sadly for many, by the time a mistake is realised it may be too late to do anything about it. Under plans unveiled by the LSB Will writing will become a ‘reserved activity’, meaning that those who provide Will writing and estate administration must be regulated by one of eight approved regulatory bodies.

"People must be able to write a Will with confidence, not fear," according to a report from the Legal Services Board which calls for Will writers to be regulated to improve standards. A Will is a document in which a person declares their intention as to what should happen to their estate after their death. The Chairman of the Legal Services Board, David Edmonds, said "Making a Will is something everyone should do. It is one of the most important actions that individuals can undertake."

Under current legislation Will writing services can be offered by anyone, even if they have no experience. Research has shown that there are significant numbers of people who receive poor service and poor outcomes from their advisors. Sadly for many, by the time a mistake is realised it may be too late to do anything about it. Under plans unveiled by the LSB Will writing will become a 'reserved activity', meaning that those who provide Will writing and estate administration must be regulated by one of eight approved regulatory bodies.

Ashley Marshall, Associate Solicitor at Marsden Rawsthorn and a specialist in Probate and Wills, commented:

"Making a Will is immensely important and something which, unfortunately, many people put off. It is vital that clients have confidence in their advisor to ensure that their wishes are adhered to and accurately reflected in their Will. We provide our clients with Will writing and also Estate planning services to keep inheritance tax bills to a minimum.  I welcome the changes proposed by the Legal Services Board and the additional protection it will provide to consumers."

A Will is the only legal way to ensure that a spouse, partner or relative will inherit what you intend. As a legal document a Will MUST be prepared correctly for it to comply with the necessary legal requirements and therefore be valid and effective, which is why it is dangerous to prepare your own Will, or use untrained and unqualified professionals for a quick fix solution. Indeed, in the long run, this approach could cause your estate extra expense after your death and your beneficiaries unnecessary stress and hardship.

Here are our top six reasons why having a professionally produced Will drawn up by a qualified solicitor is essential:

  1. If you are married and die without making a Will, your Estate will not necessarily go to your spouse. Intestacy laws will decide how your estate will be distributed amongst your relatives. For example, a surviving spouse with children is only entitled to take the first £250,000 of the deceased’s sole assets and personal possessions absolutely.
  2. If you die without making a Will and have no family, everything goes to the State.
  3. A Will is essential to provide properly for young children in the event of both parents dying.
  4. If you have married, entered into a civil partnership, or remarried since you made your Will, it is essential to make a new one, as any pre-existing Will is normally rendered void by the later marriage/civil partnership.
  5. Home-made Wills may be incorrectly drawn up and executed. If so such a Will may not be valid and so may not deal with your estate in accordance with your wishes. This could cause your spouse, partner or other beneficiaries’ unnecessary hardship.
  6. You can reduce the tax your estate will incur by using a qualified solicitor to carefully draft the terms of your Will and look at other ways of mitigating the impact of tax on your death.

If you would like more information on making a Will or reviewing your existing one please call our team on 01772 799600 or email info@marsdenrawsthorn.com.

Author: Administrator

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