Leaving a will gives you peace of mind knowing that people whom you wish to inherit upon your death will do so.
By having a Will in place you can safeguard the interests of your family and also ensure that your wishes are known and acted upon in the event of your death. A well-drafted Will allows you to provide for and protect your family or other close individuals when you are no longer here. Whereas, not having a Will in place does not provide these guarantees.
If you die without a Will (this is called dying intestate), you have no control over what happens to your estate once you have passed. The intestacy rules will decide who benefits from your estate in the absence of a Will and that can produce undesirable results. If you don’t leave a Will, the law sets a hierarchy of who is able to handle your financial affairs after death, and that can lead to problems if the person is not suitable because of age, health, geographical location, family estrangement and many other reasons. If you die without a Will, it may be necessary for your estate to commission genealogical research to identify any lost or unknown relatives. This can be expensive and time-consuming.
You may wish to leave a donation to charity, a specific piece of jewellery to a chosen individual or a sum of money to a close friend, but if you do not make a Will confirming such wishes you have no way of ensuring that your wishes are carried out on your demise.
Trusts within wills
By writing a Will, trusts can be used to protect assets and for Inheritance Tax Planning. A Will can be used to ensure you make provision for those that need it, whilst protecting assets for other beneficiaries. For example, married couples can very easily set their Wills up to protect a share of their home (which is usually the main asset) from being used to pay for care fees. This will give them the comfort of knowing their property is available for the survivor to live in for as long as it is required whilst at the same time protecting a share of the property for their loved ones to ensure they receive an inheritance in the future. Equally, for couples (whether married or unmarried) who each have children from previous relationships, a trust can be used to ring fence a part of the estate for their respective children. For married couples, the intestacy rules (when you die without leaving a Will) may result in all the marital assets being passed down to the surviving spouse, with the children of the first spouse potentially getting nothing.
Other benefits to making a Will
- It is a good opportunity to let your family know what kind of a funeral you would like and if for example you want a cremation or a burial.
- You can make provision for your pets.
- Leaving a Will can make it easier, cheaper and less stressful for your estate to be dealt with after your death.
- A Will enables you to appoint people who you trust to administer your estate.
- If you have young children, making a Will allows you to appoint people who you trust to act as guardians and care for them and to also appoint trustees to manage any trusts you may put in place for your children.
- If you wish to avoid specific blood relatives benefiting from your estate, who would otherwise benefit under the Intestacy Rules, making a Will allows you to put measures in place to prevent this from happening.
- A Will can include a trust to enable someone to manage the inheritance you leave to a disabled or vulnerable person or to young children and may ensure the intended beneficiary does not lose his/her means-tested benefits and ensure your young children are cared for financially in the event of your death.
- You can deal with any business interests that you own have within a Will (this is subject to any contrary intentions in any Articles of Association or Shareholder’s Agreement). You may gift your share of any business in a Will to your loved ones to ensure that the business will carry on trading and your interest in the business will be in safe hands.
Ensuring a Will is properly drafted
Wills can be and are often challenged, so it is important that your Will is properly drafted and considered.
The law requires that a Will is drafted in a clear and unambiguous way and there are strict rules on, for example, how it is signed. It is very important therefore that you seek expert advice when considering drafting a Will to provide you with peace of mind that it has been drafted correctly and to ensure your Will is valid. When you make a Will through a suitably qualified lawyer, the chances of a problem or dispute arising after your death are considerably reduced.
Our expert lawyers are highly experienced in drafting all types of Wills, from simple mirror Wills to complex Wills for large estates and Wills incorporating Trusts.
When you instruct one of our lawyers to draft you a Will, you can be confident that you will receive practical and accurate advice that is specific to your individual and family circumstances. There is no standard Will that ‘fits all’ and your Will will be tailored just for you based on the instructions you provide to us when we initially meet with you. It is important that you provide full details to us about your family and financial circumstances at the initial appointment so that the full picture can be assessed and advised accordingly.
You will be given the chance to review your draft Will with us before you sign it to make sure that it meets your requirements, and anything you are unsure about can be discussed thoroughly and clarified first before you sign the Will.
Storage and amendments
We can safely store your Will for free for you should you wish us to do so. We are a member of the National Will Register. Registering your will on the National Will Register ensures that your Will is easily traceable by your beneficiaries if they are unaware as to the whereabouts of your Will or whether you have even made a Will. and not overlooked. We register wills that we draft on the National Will Register for free if clients opt for this service.
We can review your Will with you in the future should your family and/or financial circumstances or wishes in general change, resulting in your Will having to be amended or a brand new Will drawn up in its place. We would meet with you to discuss the required amendments, and the implications of any amendments, before redrafting the Will for you.
In fact, regularly reviewing your Will is encouraged, particularly at key points such as buying a house, getting married, having children, getting divorced and the arrival of grandchildren. There could be a number of things happening in your life that mean your Will needs updating, even if it is just a small amendment.
Costs of writing Wills
At Marsden Rawsthorn we aim to provide clients with an efficient, thorough and cost-effective service. Details of our Will drafting fees can be found here.