Deciding to draft a Will can be one of the most important decisions a person takes in their lifetime. Making a Will lets you decide what happens to your property and possessions when you die, allowing you to look after the people and causes that matter most to you after you are gone.
Your Will also leaves your loved ones safe in the knowledge that they are carrying out your wishes, which can bring some comfort during an upsetting and stressful time. Our solicitors have exceptional skills and expertise in all areas of estate planning, offering a practical and highly personal service.
Contact our specialist Estate Planning Team today on 01709 828 044 to find out how we can help.
Why should I make a Will?
There are many reasons why you should make a Will:
- It allows you to decide who should be in charge of administering your estate and who you want to benefit from it, be that members of your family, your friends or charities and causes that you care about.
- It allows you to effectively plan for inheritance tax. This can be done in a number of ways, including by setting up a trust through your Will in order to best manage and protect your assets, minimising inheritance tax liabilities on death.
- If you have young children, or if you have a vulnerable family member whom you take care of, your Will can be used to legally appoint guardians and to determine how and when your children will inherit from your estate.
- Your Will can be used to protect assets owned by you from third parties, for example in relation to care fee planning were you to become unwell in later life.
- A Will affords both you and your family the peace of mind that your affairs are in order, removing any further stress and anxiety for friends and family at a particularly distressing time.
Despite the many pertinent reasons for making a Will, many people die without doing so. Some people may feel that the relatively modest nature of their estate means there is little point in doing so, while others may believe that their estate will automatically pass to their spouse or family on death without the need for drafting a Will. However, the rules that decide how a person’s estate will be shared on their death in the absence of a valid Will mean that in many cases things can be more complicated, and as a result their wishes can be frustrated. The best way to ensure that your property and possessions are distributed in the way you want is to have your wishes recorded in a Will.
Our Wills and Probate Solicitors will provide you with a high-level, professional service tailored to your needs. Contact our specialist Estate Planning Team today on 01709 828 044
Why should I instruct a solicitor to draft my Will?
While it is not a legal requirement that a solicitor drafts a Will on your behalf, there are many reasons why it is wise to instruct someone who is legally trained and has the appropriate qualifications when you decide to make a Will.
A Will is a complex legal document incorporating many areas of law including tax law, property law and trust law. Solicitors are trained to give advice regarding how the law in these areas applies to you, and they are bound by stringent rules relating to professional conduct so you can be reassured that they are acting in your best interests. If anything goes wrong and the client suffers loss as a result of advice given to them by their solicitor, compulsory indemnity insurance covering the business conducted by solicitors means that they are properly protected and their client will be reimbursed. Solicitors have the required skills and knowledge to ensure that your Will clearly and accurately reflects your wishes. A poorly drafted Will can lead to uncertainty about your intentions, creating more problems than if no Will had been drafted at all.
Unregulated Will writers do not require to be legally trained, qualified or be subject to insurance requirements. If you write your own Will you cannot be sure that it will be valid or effective, meaning that your instructions risk being ignored. For these reasons, it is always recommended that you instruct a solicitor when drawing up a Will.
Where should I keep my Will?
Your Will should be kept in a safe and secure place, without any other documents attached to it. You must make sure that your executer, the person who will take charge of distributing your estate, knows where your Will is kept and can access it. Wills can be kept at home, but it may be more secure to place them with your solicitor, accountant, or at the Principal Registry of the Family Division of the High Court, a District Registry or at the Probate Sub-Registry. You should not store your Will in a bank deposit box. Your executor will need permission to access anything held by your bank, which cannot be given without your Will.
Do I need to update my Will after it has been drawn up?
You should regularly review your Will and make alterations to it if there are any significant changes in your circumstances. Such changes may include:
- getting married, divorced or separated;
- having children;
- buying a house;
- the death of a beneficiary or executor.
Even if you feel there have been no significant changes in your circumstances, it is a good idea to review your Will at least every five years.
Contact our Wills and Probate Solicitors, Sheffield and London
The Wills and Estate Planning Team at Wilford Smith offers practical and easy to understand legal advice on writing a Will and all other areas of estate planning to ensure that you are best placed to plan for the future. Whether you are looking to make arrangements in regards to savings, property or a business, our Wills and Probate Solicitors will provide you with a high-level, professional service tailored to your needs. Contact our specialist Estate Planning Team today on 01709 828 044 to find out how we can help.