Nobody likes to consider what will happen after their death, but a little thought now could save your family a lot of anguish at what will already be a very difficult time. Even the happiest of families can be reduced to arguments when a loved one dies without leaving a valid will. Further, with the complexity of a modern family, it is essential to take specialist legal advice when making a will to ensure that your wishes may be carried out.
Making a will gives you the opportunity to choose what happens to your estate rather than relying on the legal rules which operate on an “intestacy”, which means when no valid will is left. Too many people leave making a will until tomorrow and often leave it too late. It will be family who are left to sort out the estate. Consequently, the outcome of how the estate is divided may be very different to what you would have wished.
What Is A Will?
A Will is a document in which a person (called the Testator) appoints Executors to administer his/her estate after their death and directs the manner in which it is to be distributed to the beneficiaries. The document is signed and witnessed and must comply with certain legal requirements to be valid.
Why Should I Make A Will?
Everyone should make a will but more than 50% of the adult population does not. If a valid will is not made, you die subject to the intestacy rules. These are the statutory rules which have financial constraints and are rigid in their application.
The division of your estate depends on your surviving relatives. In the case of a husband and wife and two children, if the husband were to die without a will then the wife will receive all the husband’s personal belongings with a statutory legacy of £250,000 (or everything if the total is less) plus one half of any balance outright. (Law applicable for deaths on or after 1st October 2014). Where a person dies without a Will leaving a spouse but no children or other descendants, the whole estate passes to the spouse.
This Is My Second Marriage, How Will This Affect Matters?
If you remarry, and have not made a will, then your new spouse will become the main beneficiary of your estate following the intestacy rules. Any children from your earlier marriage may not automatically be entitled to any benefit. By making a will, you can make arrangements to provide for any children either from your own, or your spouse’s previous marriage.
We Are Not Married But We Are Living Together, I Presume My Partner Will Be Treated As If We Were Legally Married?
The intestacy rules that apply if you have not left a will only cover legal spouses and blood relatives. Legal spouses will include registered civil partners. If you are living together your estate will pass to your children, or, if you don’t have any, to your parents or brothers and sisters.
If your partner is dependent upon you, they may be able to make a claim against your estate but this may involve Court action if your partner cannot come to any agreement with your surviving relatives. Furthermore, your unmarried partner has no right to deal with your estate - this falls to the family.
What Else Can I Include In My Will?
- You can choose to give specific items or specific amounts of money to people or charities
- If you run a business, alone or in partnership, you can decide what happens to your interest after your death
- You may be able to carry out some Inheritance Tax planning
- You may be able to mitigate the survivor’s exposure to care home fees
- You may be able to pass assets to grandchildren skipping a generation for Inheritance Tax planning
The online Will Instruction enables our solicitors to complete for you a straightforward Will without you leaving the comfort of your own home. Making a straightforward Will with Hegarty LLP has been streamlined to give you a simple, cost effective service with the backup of a personal consultation with one of our solicitors if required. This can be done by telephone, email or Skype so you don't have to visit the office.
To start your online Will simply complete the appropriate Will Instruction form below and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. If you would like to discuss any elements before submitting please call either Emma on 01733 295608 or Diane on 01733 5673. If you prefer to complete by hand, please post to: Wills, Trust & Probate Department, Hegarty LLP, 48 Broadway, Peterborough. PE1 1YW. Remember to sign and date the declaration at the end of the form. The terms and conditions of business can be viewed by clicking here.
Unlike other online Wills, our price includes a one to one consultation with a solicitor to ensure peace of mind that your Will suits your needs for now and the future. The charge is all-inclusive to enable your final Will to be produced in a way to suit your busy lifestyle.
How Much Will It Cost?
Making a standard will is not as expensive as you think. Our standard charge for a single straightforward will is £300 including VAT. If wills are required for a married couple or civil partners then our standard charge is £480 including VAT wills (i.e. where Wills are almost identical).