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Writing a Will: Your Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Thinking about writing a Will? We asked the experts at the local solicitors and Will writing company Breens to put together a free guide to answer some of your most frequently asked questions.

When should you make a Will?

If you are aged 18 or over, you should make a Will.

Why should you make a Will?

Writing a Will means you decide what happens to your belongings after your death. If you die without making a Will, the state will decide who will benefit from your estate. For example, if you are living with someone you are not married to, your partner would not automatically receive anything from your estate regardless of how long you had lived together.

How do I make a Will?

There are a number of different ways to make a Will. You can do it yourself, buy a will-writing kit, use the services of a Will writer, or use a solicitor.

What is the best way to make a Will?

If you write your own Will or use a will-writing kit, you risk leaving out key elements which could make your Will invalid. If your Will is invalid, it will be treated as if you died without a Will.

If you use a Will writer, you should be aware that many are unqualified. There have been a number of examples in the press which have highlighted the dangers of using Will- writers with tales of badly drafted Wills and hidden charges.

If you use a solicitor, you should have peace-of-mind that your Will is correct. Solicitors have to follow a strict set of rules and are accountable to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. All practising solicitors must have professional indemnity insurance. In the unlikely event that your Will has been drafted incorrectly, you can complain to the solicitor who, if found to be negligent, must compensate you for any error.

Most solicitors will also store your Will for free.

When should I change my Will?

It is important that you review your Will every five years or following a life-changing event.

If you marry, your Will will become invalid, unless the Will specifically states that it is made on the contemplation of marriage. If you do not make a new Will following a marriage, do not assume that your spouse will automatically inherit. He or she may only receive a proportion of your estate.

If you are not married but living with a partner, there is no provision made under the rules of intestacy for your partner. If you die without a Will, he or she will not automatically receive any benefit from your estate.

If you become a parent, you state in your Will who should be responsible for your children’s welfare in the event of your death. If you do not have a Will in place, stating your wishes, the courts will decide.

Any provision you have made for your former spouse will become invalid following a divorce, but this only applies once you have received the decree absolute. You must amend your Will if you are separated, if you do not want your ex-partner to receive any benefit from your estate.

If you win the lottery or suddenly inherit a large sum of money, your estate will be subject to inheritance tax. A well-constructed Will can minimise the impact of inheritance tax.

If you own a business, you will need to state who is responsible for the business until such time as it can be wound up or sold.

What should I include in my Will?

You should include who you would like to act as executor(s) of your Will. Many people choose a trusted family member or friend. You can also appoint a professional such as an accountant or solicitor.

If you have children, you should appoint a guardian to oversee your child’s upbringing.

Your Will should state whether you wish to be buried or cremated and if you would like a religious or humanist ceremony.

You will need to decide who you want to benefit from your estate and if you want to leave any specific gifts (such as jewellery) to named individuals.

If you leave an inheritance to anyone under 18, they will automatically inherit when they turn 18. If you want to make this later, say 25, you will need to state this in your Will.

Many people want to ensure the value of their property is passed down to future generations and not used entirely for the cost of care. A well-crafted Will containing a Property Protection Trust can protect half the value of your family home.

If you have pets, you should also state who you would like to look after your pet in the event of your death.

There is a lot to consider when making a Will. It is a time to reflect where you are in your life and how you can ensure the safety and security of those you love.

Breens is a local law firm that blends traditional values with a modern approach to law. With offices in Southport and Waterloo, Merseyside, they are experts in residential conveyancing, wills and probate, commercial matters, personal injury, and civil litigation.

Click here to visit the Wills and later life planning page on the Breens website, or speak to us direct on 01704 532890 (Southport) or 0151 928 6544 (Liverpool).

Useful Will resources:

Wills @ Breens

Making a Will @ Gov.uk

Wills @ CAB

All offers (including descriptions, prices etc) contained within this advertising feature are the sole responsibility of the individual advertisers and CMG cannot accept any liability whatsoever for the accuracy or validity of the content. Champion Media Group is not responsible for the content of any external websites outside of their control.


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