Whilst death is a bit of a taboo subject, it is important that our intentions are expressed clearly when writing our will and thinking about leaving our estate to our loved ones. If you thought writing a will only apply to you if you are 65+ and well into your retirement, then think again. The truth is, there is no right age to think about broaching this subject. So if in doubt, remember that if you own anything of value and want to ensure your family are protected, then take a will out.
Do I Really Need a Will?
If you are a business owner, live with a partner, have children or own an estate, these are all good reasons for you to consider taking out a will. A will can help to protect your loved ones by ensuring that issues such as inheritance tax are all taken care of.
Who Can I Include in My Will?
You can include absolutely anyone you want, from nominated charities to your pet, that may be left behind, to relatives whom you wish to benefit from your wealth. If you have any family heirlooms or objects of sentimental value, then you may also wish to outline who these are left to.
How Do I Get my Will Written?
Depending on your personal requirements and financial situation, then there are several ways you can get a will written up. We have listed some of the options that are available to you below:
• Contact one of our probate experts, as we can cater for all of your needs, from simple estates to more complex cases. Prices will vary depending on your exact requirements but start from £780 including VAT.
• A specialist will-writing service can provide services from £75 upwards.
• Use a template document which can be purchased in many stationary stores from as little as £10.
Who Should Carry out the Terms of my Will?
Whilst spouses, children or siblings may seem like the most obvious choice for carrying out our wishes, it is important to consider an impartial executor, as this can help to avoid any potential conflicts that may arise. Especially if sibling rivalry is already present. Employing the help of a professional can also help to avoid pitfalls surrounding the probate process.
In addition to considering who you want to execute your will, if you have children who are under 18, then you may also need to think about whom you would like to become an appointed guardian should you pass away before they become adults.
How Do I Write a Will?
There are many steps that should be looked at when writing your will. However, here are some basic areas that you can look at to help assist the process:
Step 1: Look at your assets.
Step 2: Look at Debts.
Step 3: Look at how you wish to divide up your assets and estate.
Step 4: Do you wish to leave a donation to a charity, cause or your pet?
Step 5 Whois going to act as your executor?
Step 6: Write up your will.
Step 7: Sign your will in the presence of two witnesses. It is important that these individuals don’t stand to benefit directly from your will.
Step 8: Store your will somewhere safe and ensure that your executors are made aware of the location.
What Happens If I Don’t Write a Will?
In the event that you die, and you don’t have a will written up, then several intestacy rules will automatically be applied, as you will be considered interstate. These include some of the following points which have been listed below:
• Spouses and children will automatically receive your personal possessions and a minimum of £250,000 of your estate.
• In the event that you don’t have any children, then your spouse will inherit all of the above.
• If you are unmarried then your long-term partner won’t automatically be left any of your estates, regardless of whether or not you have had children together.
• In the absence of a spouse or partner, then your children will receive everything. This will be divided up evenly between all of them.
• If you don’t have a partner, spouse or children, then your estate may go to siblings, nieces, nephews or parents.
Can My Will Be Challenged?
To put it in simple terms – yes! A will can be invalidated by an individual, providing they can prove that you were of unsound mind, coerced or excluded them when they believe they should have been a beneficiary in your will. Governmental bodies and departments, such as the DWP can also make claims against your estate in the event that you are overpaid. You can read more about DWP claims against your estate here.
You can avoid the likelihood of your will being challenged, by ensuring that you speak to any relevant parties, such as relatives, your spouse and children prior to writing your will and explain the reasoning behind your decisions.
If this option isn’t a feasible approach for you, then you could consider writing a letter to your executor outlining your reasons and motivations for excluding a particular individual. It is important this letter is stored along with your will as a supporting document.
Do I Really Need a Probate Expert to Carry Out My Will?
As mentioned earlier, you don’t have to employ a solicitor to carry out your wishes following your death. However, as mentioned in our previous posts, this can result in claims being made against your estate or result in wills being contested altogether. The latter is particularly common with DIY wills, as the individual may not be able to fully grasp legal terminology and thus may face many pitfalls as a direct consequence.
Do you still have a few questions about writing your will?