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If you die without making a Will you're said to have died 'intestate', and the rules of intestacy will apply.
They set out who would administer a person's estate and who would benefit. For example:
The intestacy provisions are complex and can make the administration of a person's estate more expensive.
A Will is a legal document that comes into effect on your death. By making a Will you are deciding who should look after your affairs after you've died. You also decide who should benefit from the estate and who should not.
Having a Will can speed up the administration process and reduce administration costs, make provision for an unmarried partner, help preserve assets which would otherwise be used to fund care home fees, set out your funeral wishes, and look after the needs of minor children.
Everyone over the age of 18 should make a Will. Even if you have made a Will you should review it regularly to make sure it reflects your circumstances.
In addition, if any of the following apply, you should consider making or amending your Will:
There are several ways of making a Will:
If you make your own Will or buy a Will kit, you're in danger of leaving out key provisions which could make the entire Will invalid. The rules of intestacy would then apply.
There's been considerable media coverage recently on the dangers of using Will writers responsible for incorrect will provisions, badly drafted Wills, and hidden fees. Again, if not correct, it could make the entire Will invalid and the rules of intestacy would apply.
Using a solicitor to make a Will gives you peace of mind. A solicitor can ensure the Will is drafted specifically for your requirements, and it would be correct first time.
Access Legal from Shoosmiths can provide you with step-by-step guidance through the Will making process. This would involve:
Any number of executors can be chosen, but only four can apply for the Grant of Probate. You can choose an individual (such as a family member or a friend) or a professional (such as an accountant or a solicitor) or a combination of the two. In any event, it should be somebody who's trustworthy and will carry out your wishes.
A parent may appoint one or more persons to be guardians to take effect on his death. A guardian will see to your child's upbringing. You can make provision in your will to allow your guardian(s) to receive payment from the estate to make sure they don't suffer any financial hardship by taking on the responsibility.
You should decide whether you wish to be buried or cremated. Although nobody likes to think about their own death, it's the lack of instructions concerning funeral wishes that causes the most distress to whoever is left behind.
When making a Will you must consider who's to benefit from your estate. You may wish to leave a specific gift (such as an item of jewellery) or a pecuniary gift (such as cash). You should also decide who should benefit from the rest of your estate.
Unless the Will specifies otherwise, a minor child will receive their inheritance once they reach the age of 18. If you consider this to be too young, it can be changed to 21 or 25.
A professionally crafted will containing a HPT can help to preserve the family home for the next generation, and in the case of a second, or even a third marriage, make sure that the children of the first partner to die receive their inheritance.
If you would like to make or update a will, our dedicated will writing team can help. You can contact them on 03700 868 686 where they will talk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.