When you feel the time is right to make your first Will, or update an existing one due to changes in circumstance, knowing whether to create a simple Will online or go to a Solicitor can be confusing. We are here to help remove that confusion and answer your questions.
We try to make the process of making your Will as simple and straight forward as possible, and we offer fixed fees to make it clear right from the start on what you can expect to pay.
What is a Will?
A legal document in which a person, known as the Testator, sets out his/her wishes for the distribution of their estate after their death. For a Will to be valid it must be in writing and signed by the Testator and two independent adult witnesses.
Why should you make a Will?
- To ensure that the people you wish to benefit do so, in the ways you want them to whether that is monetary or physical items and heirlooms
- To protect your family from the complex process and old rules of intestacy, that will not take into account unmarried partners or step children
- To protect your young children by appointing guardians to care for them
- To make arrangements on who you would like to care for your pets
- To ensure your funeral wishes are adhered to, or to ensure your family knows if you already have paid for a funeral plan
- To reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax or other taxes your beneficiaries would have to pay from your estate
Note 1: That a Lasting Power of Attorney is not valid after your death, it does not give legal power for someone to deal with your estate.
Note 2: Although some banks will allow an immediate an family member, with a death certificate, access to your account it often is dictated by you having only a small amount of money in that account.
What types of Wills are there?
Single Will: One Will for a single person
Mirror Will: Two Wills for two people, usually married, that have the same requests
Joint Will: One Will for two people, usually married, that have the same requests
Should I have a Solicitor write my Will or can I just write one myself?
If you have a very small estate and only one beneficiary you may be considering a home-made Will or an online Will. But bear in mind it will still need to be witnessed by 2 people in order to be valid, and it may not necessarily help reduce tax that will need to be paid from your estate.
The small cost of making a legally binding with a Solicitor is worth the investment to ensure your estate is passed on exactly as you wish, especially in today’s complicated family trees and complicated tax laws.
What assets should I include in my Will?
- Property you own here or abroad and mortgage details
- Home and Life Insurance details
- Bank, Savings and Bond account details
- Private or State Pension details
- Shares and Stock details
- Part ownership in business or property
- Vehicles, loan and insurance details
- Computer passwords and online bank account details and passwords
- Online assets details and passwords to photos, videos, films or music
- Social media passwords
- A list of valuables or heirlooms you want beneficiaries to receive
Where should I store my Will?
The legally binding version of your Will should be kept with your Solicitor and a copy kept in a place in your home where your family can easily find it after your death. Your family won’t be notified if you have a Will so it is important you let them know one exists and where to find it.
How often should I update my Will?
Our rules of thumb is to review your Will every 2 years for accuracy, and for a very small fee consider legally updating it every 10 years. A lot can change in a decade, you may have moved home, had more grandchildren, been divorced or remarried or your beneficiaries may have new contact details.Ask a question or find our offices