Wills ... sadly, unlike opinions, not everybody has one. They may seem daunting or a miserable thing to think about but there are lots of good reasons to write a Will using a Solicitor.
1. A will allows you to decide who will benefit from your estate and who is to look after it. Without one, legal rules (intestacy rules) dictate how your assets will pass. This could mean that they do not go to the people you would want. At the same time, the Solicitor can ensure that a share of jointly owned property also passes to the person(s) you want. This might not happen automatically.
2. A professionally drafted Will can reduce (or eliminate) a potential inheritance tax bill. Do you really want money to go to the tax man if this can be avoided?
The Will can be used to protect:
- a share of a home from being used to pay for care fees while leaving it available for a surviving partner to live in for as long as they want.
- assets for children from a previous relationship and cover the needs of a new partner for their life.
- an inheritance left to a disabled or vulnerable person, or to someone who is just not good with money by using a trust mechanism while not effecting an entitlement to means tested benefit.
- children by naming guardians to look after them. Money left to children in a Will can also be protected by a trust to support them but prevent them frittering it away at a young age.
3. Having a Will prepared by a Solicitor will reduce the chances of problems or disputes after death. If a challenge remains possible advice can be given on how to try and avoid it now. Challenges are not just from people "coming out of the woodwork". Often they are from someone the deceased wanted to benefit but does not (e.g.. a "common law spouse") because proper advice was not taken.
Challenges to Wills are expensive. Lawyers benefit over the family! Do you really want that?
4. So why use a Solicitor?
- Anyone can call themselves a "will writer" quite legally. No training or accreditation is required. Solicitors have to undergo a rigorous qualification process and undertake regular ongoing training. Solicitors must also be insured in case things do go wrong. Will writers do not, and often are not.
- "Home-made" Wills (e.g.. via the internet), although cheaper, often contain significant errors, omissions or are simply invalid leading to protracted legal disputes and fees many times above those a Solicitor would charge for a Will. Surely a false economy!
Lastly, even if you have a Will, it should be reviewed regularly. Circumstances and the law change. What was right then might not be right for you now!
Contact us to discuss your Will
Edward Pennington - Private Client Solicitor
E - Edward.Pennington@dpmlegal.co.uk
T - 01483 521 597
Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate and correct, the information provided does not constitute any form of advice, recommendation or opinion. DPM Legal Services Limited accepts no liability for any loss or damage, howsoever caused, as a result of any reliance on any information provided.