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Do I need a Will?

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In this blog we address the question ‘Do I need a Will?’ and answer your questions about what happens if you don’t make a Will.

London Will solicitors

If you need advice about making a Will or updating your existing Will then the friendly and efficient Will and private client services team at OTS Solicitors can help you. Call us on 0203 959 9123 or click here.

Do I need a Will?

When a private client solicitor is asked the question ‘Do I need a Will?’ the answer is invariably yes. That is because everyone needs a Will. If you already have a Will it needs to be up to date to reflect your current financial and personal circumstances and wishes.

Many people assume that you only need a Will if you:

Whilst the above are all good reasons to make a Will the reality is that most of us should have a Will because without one:

  • Your assets or estate or estate will pass under the rules of intestacy. This means that all your estate or a share of your estate may not go to who you would have liked to have received it, for example, your cohabitee or a friend
  •  There is an increased risk that a claim will be made against your estate because the intestacy rules mean your loved ones don’t receive a share of your estate and hence have to make a claim
  • You are not able to appoint your choice of executors and trustees to manage your estate or appoint a testamentary guardian for your children
  • You can't decide when your children should receive their inheritance. For example, you may want your children to receive their legacy at age twenty five and you can place this condition in a Will
  • You cannot create a trust to protect a family member, such as a child with special needs or to protect family wealth if you fear that a legacy left by you could be lost through a beneficiary of your estate going through divorce proceedings or being made bankrupt
  • You are not able to make specific legacies
  • You cannot pass on your estate to your loved ones in a tax efficient manner.

However, London Will solicitors say that the most compelling reason to make a Will is that leaving a Will makes it less distressing for your loved ones and family to deal with your estate and affairs after you have passed away.

When should I make a Will?

Many people are reluctant to make a Will until they have settled down and have got married and had children or until they are nearing retirement. The reluctance to make a Will is often because they don’t want to keep changing it or they don’t think they are old enough to need a Will.

Sadly, we all need a Will at some point and we can't always predict when we will need one. Will solicitors know that you will not want to keep changing your Will and therefore will try to cover a range of scenarios. For example, your Will could say that your estate is left to your partner but if he or she predeceases you then your estate is left equally between your children. Your children don’t need to be specifically named in your Will because that means if you have additional children there is no need to make a new Will.

Do I need a solicitor to write a Will?

You don’t need to use a solicitor to write a Will but it is best to do so because:

  • Wills are complicated legal documents. If you get the wording wrong then it may have unintended consequences. For example, if you have step grandchildren and you want them to have a share of your estate they will lose out if you only refer to ‘grandchildren’ in your Will
  • Wills must be properly executed. If your Will isn’t properly executed then it may be invalid
  • A Will that is prepared by a solicitor should ensure that if you jointly own property that you understand whether your share of your jointly owned property will pass to your beneficiaries under the terms of your Will or to your joint owner under the rules relating to joint tenancies of property
  • The costs of sorting out a badly drawn up Will or resolving a challenge to your Will and a claim against your estate are a lot more than the cost of a professionally drawn up Will.

A professionally drawn up Will should give you peace of mind and the security of knowing that your loved ones will be protected if you pass away.

Does my Will need reviewing?

Although a Will solicitor will try to ‘future proof’ your Will there are times when a Will may need reviewing. For example:

  • You are getting married. You don’t need to wait for your marriage to make a new Will as your Will can be made in contemplation of marriage
  • You are getting divorced. You don’t need to wait for your decree absolute of divorce to make a new Will. It is sensible to make a new Will when you separate from your partner
  • Your chosen executors or trustees have passed away
  • Your personal or financial circumstances have changed significantly , for example, you have sold your business or established a new business or have won the lottery or received an inheritance or bought a house jointly with a new partner
  • Your beneficiaries personal or financial circumstances have changed significantly, for example, they have been made bankrupt or are getting divorced
  • There has been a change in inheritance tax rules so your Will needs updating to make it more tax efficient.

Everyone needs a Will however complicated their personal or financial circumstances. Whilst many of us are tempted to put off making a Will we should see it as an essential part of planning to protect our loved ones.

London Will solicitors

For advice on making a Will or if you need help with updating an existing Will or tax planning call the friendly team of Will and private client solicitors at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or click here.

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