Do I need a Will?
Salisbury Lawyers suggests that every adult should have a Will. They really are inexpensive to have prepared and they offer a big peace of mind, and protection for your family in the future.
If you die without a Will, then you will be deemed to have died ‘intestate’, and the Courts will decide how your estate is divided. That can be distressing to costly to your loved ones and in most cases, your estate won’t be divided how you would have liked. For example, your own children may miss out on a big part of your inheritance if you have a new partner when you die.
There is no one rule about how to do your Will. It all depends on your assets, your circumstances and who your beneficiaries will be.
You need to make a will that makes your wishes clear, that avoids confusion and conflict amongst your loved ones, and that is legally valid and binding. Doing this will protect your family and friends from costly and stressful legal disputes.
Things you need to consider
Who will be your Executors?
Your Executors have the legal and administrative task of sorting out your assets and debts after you die and making sure that your wishes as outlined in the Will are upheld.
Who will be your beneficiaries and what effect will their inheritance have on their circumstances?
You can designate anyone as a beneficiary and distribute your assets in any way you like, however, if you don’t provide for your family and dependents, your will can be contested and your hard-won assets used on litigation fees.
You also should consider the effects that an inheritance may have on your beneficiaries. In some cases, a testamentary trust can sidestep potential taxation problems, so it’s important that you get specific advice about your situation.
How do you know a Will is valid?
To be valid, the person making the Will must be at least 18 years old, mentally competent, the Will must be correctly signed and witnessed, and show no evidence of tampering.
If there is any doubt or potential for dispute as to your mental competence, you should get a doctor’s confirmation of your capacity to make the will and include it with your Will.
How often should I review my Will?
You should certainly review your Will after any major events, such as marriage, divorce, property purchase or sale, death of a beneficiary or if your assets change significantly. We also recommend that you take a look at your Will every couple of years just to make sure that it is still the best instrument for you and for your family. For example, if you have a Will and later marry then your Will will be invalid and you will be deemed to die ‘intestate.
We can help
We know the potential pitfalls, and will ask you all the right questions to make sure that you have considered every possibility. We can design your Will in such a way to help protect your family from expensive estate litigation after your death and we can advise you on other documents such as a Power of Attorney or Anticipatory Directions to cover how your financial and medical decisions will be managed, in the event that you lose capacity to make your own decisions throughout your life.
Contact us to discuss your particular situation and your family’s needs with an experienced will lawyer.