Oakwood Solicitors

Wills

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What is a Will and do I need one?

A Will is a legal document which allows you to:

  • Choose who will be your Executors – these are the people who carry out your wishes in your Will
  • Choose who will be the guardians of your children – if they are under the age of 18 at the date of your death
  • Include details about your funeral wishes – in as much details as you wish or you can direct your Executors to where further information can be located
  • Deal with shares in a business (if your articles of association or shareholder or partnership agreements permit this) or property
  • Leave monetary gifts and specific items to named people or charities
  • Provide for pets to be rehomed or even leave a money for their care
  • Include Trusts in your Will – for various reasons
  • Ensure your Will makes full use of all Inheritance Tax allowances
  • Decide who will receive the rest of your assets (known as your estate)

Writing a Will can appear a daunting and emotional task however by making a Will, it provides you with peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out and ensures that your loved ones are protected and provided for whatever may happen in the future. Sadly, we often see the effects that dying without a Will has on those left behind.

 

What happens if I don’t have a Will?

If you die without making a  Will then the Intestacy rules will apply to your estate upon death. The Intestacy rules decide where your estate is to go in the absence of a Will. This means that your estate could pass to your spouse or civil partner whether it is your intention or not. This means that children may not inherit upon your death. In the absence of close family members your estate could be divided between distant relatives who you never knew about and who have never met you!

Do I need a Will?

If you do not already have a Will then we ask that you look at the following scenarios which may be applicable to your personal circumstances and ask yourself whether now is the time to think about making a Will:

  1. Marriage/Civil Partnership – If you already have a Will then marriage or forming a Civil Partnership will automatically invalidate your existing Will. If you are planning on getting married or forming a civil partnership then you can make your Will in expectation of this and then your Will will remain valid upon your marriage or civil partnership.

Once you are married or have formed your civil partnership it is advisable to either review any existing Will you may have or make new Wills.

  1. Living together – You may have decided that marriage or forming a civil partnership is not the right choice for you. In the absence of a Will your partner will not receive anything automatically from your estate upon your death.

To ensure that your partner is provided for in the event of your death it is beneficial to make a Will. This may include members of your partner’s family for example your partner’s children who are brought up within the family unit – who will not benefit from anything if you do not have a Will.

  1. Buying a House – A house purchase will be one of the most expensive assets you will normally own and by making a Will you can ensure that it is left in accordance with your wishes.

You may own the property in your sole name but wish to provide for a third party to live in the property for a specified length of time after your death this would be covered in your Will.

If you co-own your property with a spouse or partner as joint tenants – this means that your property will automatically pass to the surviving co-owner whether you have a Will or not. If this is not your intention you can sever your joint tenancy and leave your share of your home under the terms of your Will.

If you already own your property as tenants in common, then you can leave your share of the property in your Will whilst ensuring that the surviving owner is protected, if this is your intention.

  1. Children – When having children, it is advisable to make a Will to ensure that you decide who looks after your children. Your wishes are clear in your Will and it avoids any potential uncertainty or arguments whereby a court may make a decision in the best interests of your children.

In your Will you can also financially provide for your children during their minority by using a trust and you can decide what age they can have full access to their inheritance.

Your personal circumstances may require you to consider specialist trusts to provide protection for your children in the future. Grandparents may also wish to include these trusts in their Wills.

Consider whether you need to include children from your first marriage/relationship in your Will to protect their interests.

  1. Separation – In the event of a relationship breakdown – whether it be a marriage, civil partnership or long-term relationship it is advisable to consider whether your Will should be updated at this time.

If you die without updating your Will then your ex will be entitled to receive any share of your estate you have left them under your Will.

Should you enter into a new relationship then it is beneficial to review your Will to ensure that your wishes reflect your current situation.

  1. Divorce – if you have decided to divorce or dissolve your civil partnership and it has not yet been finalised, then you are still within that relationship and considered to be married or in a civil partnership until the process has completed. If you die during the proceedings, then your spouse or civil partner is entitled to inherit under the intestacy rules or under the terms of your existing Will if it has not been updated to reflect your new circumstances.

At this time, it is beneficial to review the terms of your current Will or make a new Will.

Upon the finalisation of your divorce, or dissolution of your civil partnership, any current Will you hold remains valid. However, your ex-spouse or civil partner is unable to receive any inheritance left under the current Will. To avoid any uncertainty or confusion it is always advisable to make a new Will.

  1. Providing for others in your Will – It may be when making your Will that you have to think about the following:
    • What will happen to your beloved pet who is often regarded as a member of the family? – Do you need to arrange for your pet to be gifted to an individual you trust to take care of your pet or do you require a more formal rehoming arrangement? Do you need to think about leaving a monetary gift to the individual or charity for rehoming your pet?
    • Gifts to the charities you support – You may have supported a specific charity or charities throughout your lifetime and you wish to ensure that they are named in your Will so your support can continue upon your death.
    • Gifts to friends – Sometimes our friends are closer to us than our family and these are the people who you may decide to include in your Will rather than your family members.
  2. Personal items – you may wish to leave your personal items to specific individuals. This can be included in your Will or your Will can refer to a letter of wishes addressed to your Executors explaining which individuals are to receive specific items.
  3. Illness – if you do not have a Will but have received life changing news about your health, this may prompt you to make a Will. By making a Will you can include all the details about your wishes and funeral requirements.

You may feel that once you have made your Will you can concentrate on your family and the other important issues in your life.

  1. Death – Upon the death of a loved one or a close friend you may feel that you need to think about making a Will or updating your existing Will.

It can be a positive step to keep your affairs in order, but it can also be the negative aspect of a situation whereby the wishes of the deceased were not carried out due to not having a Will or updating their Will.

These are thought-provoking situations that we can all relate to and by making a Will you can give yourself peace of mind for the future.

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd

 

Why choose Oakwood Solicitors Ltd?

Oakwood Solicitors can assist you through this process and provide you with the necessary advice. Our team have gained an excellent reputation amongst local organisations and their client-base for delivering a personal and compassionate service. As a firm we pride ourselves on having a high standard of customer service and making all our current and potential clients feel at ease when making any decisions regarding their future wishes.

As a firm with our clients best interests in mind:

  • We provide a bespoke Will-writing service which ensures that your Will is tailored to your individual circumstances.
  • We offer a free initial consultation to take your instructions and assess your requirements.
  • Our Will writing costs are fixed and we will ensure total transparency.

You will have a dedicated advisor who will work through the Wills process with you from start to finish, assisting you in the event of any queries or issues you may have. Your advisor will also continue to provide regular updates until your final Will signing.

We recommend reviewing your Will every three to five years or whenever your circumstances change. We will  send you reminders in future years should you need to modify your Will.

Once your Will has been signed, we can store your Original Will free of charge  in our deed store department and provide you with a copy to keep with your personal documents. We  will ensure the process is as stress-free and effortless as possible.

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