1. “I reviewed my Will 10 years ago – I don’t need a new one.”
You already have a Will in place. You may not need a new one, but we do recommend that you review it at least once every three years.
Things change – Tax, the Law, your family’s circumstances. Regular review is essential (so join!) Inheritance Tax and Asset Protection may not have been priorities in the past, and if you run a business of any sort, that could fold on your death or disability without Legal Planning. Many people will leave an Inheritance Tax bill of as much as £140,000 more than they needed to, simply because they neglected to have their Wills reviewed.
Changes could be due to marriage, divorce, the birth of new children or grandchildren, death of a beneficiary, or even coming into some money. The Peace of Mind Service helps you to keep abreast of any changes that may affect your planning so you can be sure that your Will is as effective as possible.
I am glad if you have a Will! But:
- Do you know where it is?
- Do your executors know where it is?
- Has your property gone up in value?
- Are your executors still appropriate?
- How about guardians for children under 18?
- Have any of the tax rules changed (clue – yes – and you could end up leaving an extra £140,000 of tax to pay before your beneficiaries get anything!)
- Is it secure from anyone who might not like what you have decided?
- Our Peace of Mind Service provides security, regular Newsletter to alert you to changing Tax, Legal & Family matters, and recommends a review not less than every 3 years – though we encourage a chat every year. It also makes sure your Will and other documents can be found! After all, you wouldn’t purchase a car and assume it doesn’t need any maintenance for the rest of your life.
For advice: 01323 741200
2. “I don’t want Social Services to foster out my children to strangers.”
If both legal parents are gone, that is exactly what will happen if you haven’t made your choice of Guardian, which is usually part of your Will. This is a really important consideration that parents-to-be should plan ahead for, as should blended families give thought to the matter when they make a Will – which is even more important for blended families.
3. “Everything will go to my partner anyway – why make a Will?”
- Not if it is a common-law marriage – in Law they don’t exist, though they potentially have some rights – by way of expensive Court action under the 1975 Inheritance Act.
For some people this is actually OK, but are you sure it’s true for you? If you die without a Will then the “Rules of Intestacy” will apply and your estate will be distributed to surviving blood relatives by a strict hierarchy. There is no Inheritance Tax relief for unmarried couples.
- If you are married or in a civil partnership and you have no children then if you die all of your assets will pass to your spouse or civil partner. This is also the case for married couples and civil partners who have children but whose estates are valued at less than £270,000. For everyone else, the spouse gets the first £270,000, the household chattels including the car and the rest is split, half to the spouse, half to the children with the share of a deceased child being split between their children..
If you and your partner are unmarried or have not entered into a civil partnership then the rules of intestacy are not your friend. Intestacy doesn’t recognise these relationships so your partner would receive no benefit from your estate. The concept of ‘common law marriage is only a myth and has no legal basis.
For advice: 01323 741200
4. “Making a will is complicated”
Making a will doesn’t need to be a complicated process. You can chat with a professional and highly skilled Will Writer in the comfort of your own home on the phone at a time that suits you. The benefit of using a professional Will Writer is that they will be able to advise you every step of the way and the complicated bits like actually writing the will and dealing with HM Land Registry will all be handled by your Will Writer for you. Giving your instructions for your will can be as simple as having a chat over a nice cup of tea, without the potential health risks!
5. “Making a will is morbid”
We don’t like to talk about death. It’s a topic that can make people feel uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean that the process of making a Will has to be a solemn affair. We prefer to look at the positive side of writing a Will. By putting a Will in place you’re giving yourself peace of mind because you’ll know that your affairs will be in order. You’ll also know that your family or those who are important to you will be taken care of.
6. “Once I’ve written a Will it can’t be changed”
This is another one that we hear quite often. There is a general fear that once you have written a Will that’s it. Thankfully that’s not the case. As long as you retain the capacity to make a will you are totally free to cancel it (formally!) or to write a new will at any point. In fact, we encourage it (see point 1)!
7. “I need a solicitor to write a will”
While we certainly recommend using a professional to write your will that doesn’t need to be a solicitor – many of whom are specialists in other areas such as divorce, conveyancing or business law. There are 1700 professional Will Writers who are specialist members of the Society of Will Writers like us. SWW members you can be sure are properly trained, insured, and ultimately safe to do business with.
For advice: 01323 741200
8. “My family will sort everything out between themselves once I’m gone”
Unfortunately, if you die without a will your family will not be able to distribute your estate however they wish, at least, not without serious legal and possibly criminal consequences. Your estate would pass according to the rules of intestacy, which is essentially the will that the government has written for you. The only way to guarantee that your assets pass to who you want them to on death is to have a will – which is secure and found (see Peace of Mind Service).
9. “Wills are for the rich – I don’t have anything to give” (and parents!)
Most people have something of value when they die. You may not be rich, you may not own your own home, but you almost definitely have something. Whether this is some money in the bank, jewellery, or even items that have no real monetary value but are quite sentimental to you. Chances are you’d want to make sure the assets you do have end up in the right hands.
If you have children under 18, then you should appoint Guardians in your Will to protect them from Social Services’ choice of guardian, whom they are unlikely to know. That should be enough alone to ensure parents make a Will.
10. “My debts will die with me.”
Wouldn’t that be nice? Unfortunately, it’s not true. If you die with any debts outstanding, these will need to be paid from your estate. Your Will can direct where everything left over will pass and can make specific gifts of certain assets, so they won’t fall into the pot to be sold to cover debts unless absolutely necessary.
11. “Wills are for the elderly or the ill.”
While a person who is elderly or ill may need to make a Will more urgently, Wills are for everyone over 18 with mental capacity. Writing a Will shouldn’t be put off as the longer you leave it the more risk there is of it being too late. Even if you are at the other end of the spectrum and are young and healthy you can still benefit from a Will, especially if you have minor children. A Will isn’t all about distributing your assets on death, it is also an important document to appoint guardians. These are people who you appoint to formally take care of your minor children if you were to die.
For advice: Allied Law Ltd 01323 741200