We all know that we should have a Will in place that protects our assets and the interests of our family in the event we pass away, yet approximately 70% of people in the UK never get round to making one.
Many of us put off making a Will, sometimes because we either do not have the time or simply because we do not want to think about it. But a Will is not simply a legal document that sets out how your estate and the assets within it are to be dealt with when you pass away. Whilst this will often form a significant part of the will and your solicitor will advise you on this, you will also get advice on a number of other issues which can be included in your will and which bring additional benefit to you and your loved ones both before and after your death.
Where a person dies without having made a will (or intestate as it is known) the distribution of assets is decided not by the person’s relatives, as is commonly believed, but by legislation. This means that in many cases the deceased person’s assets are not distributed to those relatives or friends they had wished would receive them. If there is no will it is also likely there would have been no provisions made for dealing with the arrangements and costs of a funeral. This can result in the funeral having to be funded by relatives or friends left to arrange it that may not be beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate under the rules.
As well as being able to stipulate which relatives and friends will receive what assets your will can also incorporate inheritance tax planning measures, allowing you to reduce the amount of tax that your beneficiaries are required to pay on the assets they receive. Where young children or grandchildren are to inherit elements of your estate your will also allows you to stipulate at what age they inherit any assets and who shall control them until then. Your will is also important for appointing guardians for any children or dependents, ensuring thy are cared for and looked after by a relative or close friend of your choosing.
As part of your will you can also choose your executor/s, the person or persons responsible for seeing that your wishes are carried out. If you do not have a relative or friend you are able to appoint as an executor you can appoint your solicitor to undertake the role.
Changing circumstances are often cited as the main reason for delaying making a will. However, a professionally drafted will can be flexible to cover some changing circumstances and can be updated to reflect changes in others. You may not have to make a new will each time you move or have a child; you can simply speak to your solicitor about amending the will you have already. Also, if you are worried about cost, Holmes & Hills offer fixed-price will writing services in many circumstances.
If you have not made a will or need to update a Will, give your legal affairs a spring clean and ensure your estate offers the greatest benefit to your loved ones.
Holmes & Hills Solicitors offers the ability for you to make your Will, with professional advice from a specialist lawyer, at any one of our five offices across Essex and Suffolk. Holmes & Hills Solicitors in Halstead also has offices in Braintree, Sudbury, Tiptree and Coggeshall.