Writing or Making a Will?
Making a Will is essential if you want to avoid ‘dying intestate’ which effectively means your money, possessions and property will probably be distributed in a way you would not have wished after you die.
Even if you do not consider yourself to be wealthy, a Will makes sure that your 'estate' will be handled by those you nominate but it is vital to keep it up-to-date in case your situations change i.e. you get divorced, separate from your partner or have children.
The safest option is to ask a lawyer to draw up or check a Will for you to make sure it has the correct effect. A solicitor will clarify that there are no mistakes which could lead to misunderstandings and disputes after your death which would cause excessive legal costs.
Without a Will unmarried couples cannot inherit from each other and will not be automatically nominated as the personal representative of what the deceased leaves behind.
When one half of a married couple dies the rules regarding the division of the estate is affected by the existence of children but a Will takes precedence over all the set regulations.
Avoiding inheritance tax is also a key reason for making a Will. This tax may be payable on assets over £285,000 and therefore it is important to work out what your estate is worth – don’t forget this also includes your furniture, car and other personal belongings. Unless a lawyer is brought in to carry out the simple tasks which will help reduce or negate any Inheritance Tax liability then surviving partners (if not married) could be forced to sell off their shared home to pay the tax off.
Lawyers can deal with problems such as when several family members make a claim on the Will such as other wives or children from a previous relationship.
They are experts on how to navigate the Will writing process if you share a property with someone who is not your husband, wife or partner. If you do not live in the UK, you are not a British citizen or you are a resident here but an overseas property is involved then using a solicitor is paramount. They are also vital for consultation if a business is a major asset.
The main aspect of a Will states how much money and what property and possessions you have. These take the form of houses, savings, occupational and personal pensions, insurance policies, bank and building society accounts and shares. It is imperative you decide who the beneficiaries of your estate will be, who should look after any children under the age of 18 and who will be given the job of being the executor of your wishes. Solicitors are also the most reliable option when choosing the executor as the task requires huge responsibility.A Will can only be valid if the person is 18 years old or over, made voluntarily and by someone who is fully aware of the people who will inherit the possessions and property. It must always be recorded in writing and signed in the presence of two witnesses who must also sign the Will.