Your will tells everyone what should happen to your money, possessions and property after you die (all these things together are called your ‘estate’). If you don’t leave a will, the law decides how your estate is passed on – and this might not be in line with your wishes.
Writing a will is something you may have thought about many times but put off for a variety of reasons. It is estimated that over 60% of UK adults do not have a will.
This can lead to severe financial difficulties and confusion for those left behind, which could have been avoided if suitable advice had been sought.
Making a will gives you the peace of mind that you have done everything correctly and tied up loose ends.
Why do I need a will?
- A will makes it much easier for your family or friends to sort everything out when you die – without a will the process can be more time consuming and stressful. It ensures that your loved ones have one less thing to worry about during an already difficult time.
- If you don’t write a will, everything you own will be shared out in a standard way defined by the law (the law of intestacy) – which isn’t always the way you might want.
- A will can help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that might be payable on the value of the property and money you leave behind.
- Writing a will is especially important if you have children or other family who depend on you financially, if you want to leave something to people outside your immediate family or if you are living as a couple but unmarried.
- Making sure that you have a will is not enough: it has to be the right type of will. That is, one that is professionally drafted to ensure that it fully takes care of your wishes and needs. The process is much simpler than you may think, usually requiring no more than two appointments with our specialist in the comfort of your own home.
What does a will do?
- Specifies whom you wish to inherit your estate, in what order and in what proportions.
- Makes specific gifts to family, friends or your favourite charity.
- Appoints suitable guardians to take care of your young children rather than leaving the decision to the Courts.
- Appoints suitable executors, who may be lay or professional. This is an important appointment as executors carry unlimited legal responsibility and liability and have a duty to represent the wishes of the deceased. APS Legal Services offer a professional executor service.
- Creates trusts for children to protect their inheritance until an age specified by you.
- Protects the inheritance of your children or other beneficiaries should the surviving spouse/partner re-marry.
- Ensures that your partner benefits from your estate.
- Prevents your share of property from being sold to pay for the survivor’s future care fees.
- Avoids paying 40% Inheritance Tax on your estate, so giving more to your chosen beneficiaries rather than the Government.
What if I die without a will?
Death is such a taboo subject that it’s not surprising that over 60% of us risk bequeathing costly confusion to our nearest and dearest by not making a will. Most people at some time in their lives consider putting their affairs in order, but the thought often passes without further action. There are of course the normal excuses of ‘we’re too busy’, or ‘I don’t plan on dying just yet!’
But we find for many people, the reason they have not got around to making a will, is because they were not aware of the severe consequences to their family if anything was to happen to them, as they just assumed that everything would be okay.
However, if you care about who inherits your estate, and your family to be looked after in the way that you want, then you need an up to date professionally drafted will.
What if I already have a will? Do I need to review it?
It is recommended that you review your will every 3 to 5 years or following a change in your circumstances (whichever is sooner). Your wishes may not have changed, but the value of your assets and the law may have. Changes such as marriage, divorce or changes in the circumstances of your executors, guardians or trustees are examples of reasons why you should review your existing will.
As such, it is very important to ensure that your will is fit for purpose and still protects your assets and investments, whilst also allowing you to take advantage of the flexibility within the law of estate planning. Don’t make the mistake of putting your will away and forgetting about it.
For more information or to book your FREE will review, call Jim Gregory, at Will Writing East Kent today on 07712 672658 or 01304 614956. Alternatively, fill in the callback form on this page.
Storing your legal documents
Your Will is perhaps one of the most important legal document you will ever have. However, in order for your last wishes to be properly carried out, first your most recent Will has to be found! If your Will can’t be located or has been misplaced you will be classed as dying intestate – without a Will, so it is important to keep your documents safe and secure.
The whole package costs just £40 a year. This is a small price to pay for peace of mind, knowing your documents are safe and secure against loss, fire and theft. We also offer free storage if you choose to name APS Legal as an Executor in your Will.