Making a will provides peace of mind for the future. A will is a legally binding document which states how your assets can be protected and delivered to your loved ones after you die.
If you die without a will, or your will is poorly drafted and out of date, there is no guarantee your possessions will pass to close family members, or a partner, and this can cause a great deal of stress, upset and financial difficulty for those left behind.
In a will you can decide who will be in charge of distributing your assets and who should be the guardian of children under the age of 18. You may also make clear your preferences about your funeral arrangements.
We understand how important it is to safeguard assets that you or your family may rely on in future. Our highly experienced and understanding solicitors will take the time to listen to your needs and then tailor a will to suit your own personal circumstances.
In some circumstances a trust may be appropriate to help protect the value of assets you own.
Our specialist team has considerable expertise on how to write a will, on inheritance tax and its effect and setting-up trusts (where they are appropriate to your circumstances). Hodge Jones & Allen is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Ombudsman. In addition many of our lawyers belong to the highly respected Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and we use the STEP Will Writing Code of Practice in preparing all our wills. This level of consumer protection cannot generally be offered by other non-Solicitor will writing firms.
We understand that after life planning is a difficult and emotional process. Our team of legal experts will provide sensitive and discreet advice to help provide peace of mind for the future.
Here are some common questions on the reasons for making a will and our responses:
There are many ‘will writing’ products on the market and in theory you can make your own will. However, the rules for making a will are complicated and for a relatively modest fee a solicitor can ensure that:
Badly drafted wills are responsible for a number of damaging probate disputes each year – expensive litigation is the last thing you want to leave your loved ones.
Even if you have already made a valid will, we would recommend that you review it regularly. Your life circumstances may change: perhaps you are getting married? Divorced? Perhaps you now earn considerably more than you did when you made your original will? Or have received an inheritance of your own? Any significant changes in your status or circumstances can affect your existing will, and may even make it invalid. If you marry or remarry, for example, your will is automatically rendered invalid unless it was made clear at the time that you were intending to marry and wanted the current will to remain in force afterwards.
Since both your children are under 18 then they won’t be able to inherit directly. But this doesn’t mean they can’t benefit under your will. Your solicitor will be able to help you arrange for their inheritance to be held in trust for them until they are older. Meanwhile, you can ensure that your children don’t lose out by allowing the trustees you nominate to use the income and/or capital for your children’s benefit, such as to pay school or university fees on their behalf.
You should make a will as soon as possible. Whether or not you automatically inherit your partner’s share of the house depends on whether you own it as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common. If your ownership is as Tenants in Common your partner’s share of the property will pass to his children, as will his other possessions. If you were married then you would inherit the first £250,000 of your partner’s estate and receive a life interest in the remainder. You should talk to your solicitor about making a valid will and also about how you may be able to avoid paying unnecessary inheritance tax.
The Procedure to make a new will with us:
The whole process is usually quite quick (often no more than a few weeks) and quite painless!
You may already have a will which needs to be updated to take account of changes in your life. Will amendments need to be undertaken with care to ensure your wishes are fully understood and are legally binding. Most importantly, if your will does not reflect your current circumstances, your assets may be distributed in a way you hadn’t intended.
You can’t amend your will after it’s been signed and witnessed. The only way you can change a will is by making an official alteration called a codicil which we can prepare for you. You must sign a codicil and get it witnessed in the same way as witnessing a will.
If you need more substantial changes made to your will it is usually advisable to have a new will prepared by one of our legal advisers which formally revokes your previous will.
It is sensible to check your will every so often to see if it needs updating. You should seek professional advice on updating your will if any of these circumstances apply to you:
We can advise on how these changes can affect the distribution of your estate and how to change both the beneficiaries named in your will and the amount of money or assets paid out to them. Our team can also provide specialist tax advice to reduce or defer the payment of inheritance tax in your estate where possible.
For more information please read the STEP code for will preparation.
Our legal practice and team of Wills and Probate Solicitors have a strong track record of achieving favourable client outcomes. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0808 250 6017 today.