A Will is a legal document setting out your wishes as to how your estate is to be distributed on your death. It disposes of the wealth you have accumulated during your lifetime and, therefore, getting the right advice is essential.
If you do not have a Will, your estate will be distributed according to the Intestacy Rules which only considers family members, Unmarried couples have no rights under an intestacy and assets are distributed often resulting in unwelcome outcomes.
A Will enables you to appoint executors and to create a financial framework for your children that will manage finances until they are old enough to do this for themselves, as well as give direction as to who will look after them in the event they are minors when you pass away. There are other financial related benefits of making a Will such as protecting assets, maximising tax reliefs and exemptions.
Not having a Will, leaves the way open for family disputes, control from unwanted family members, higher inheritance tax liabilities, and potential claims against your estate resulting in your assets not being distributed in the way you had thought.
A simple basic Will costs £125 plus VAT.
Simple mirror Wills cost £200 plus VAT. Mirror Wills are usually made by couples at the same time and the terms are virtually identical as they “mirror” each other.
A typical example of a simple mirror Will would be a couple leaving everything to each other and then on the survivor’s death, the estate is split equally between their children. The advantage of this type of Will is that they are mostly straightforward and cost less than two bespoke Wills.
A mirror Will can be changed by an individual at any time and there may be circumstances where you would prefer that the assets of your estate doesn’t go directly to your beneficiaries, but instead they are held on behalf of your beneficiaries in a particular way, known as a Trust.
An executor can be a beneficiary of a Will, but a beneficiary should not act as a witness of the Will otherwise their entitlement to their inheritance under the Will is lost.
It is worth noting that an executor is usually also appointed as a trustee and if the Will contains a discretionary trust of which they are one of the listed beneficiaries, there may be a conflict of interest as the executor/trustee may wish to exercise their discretion and appoint all the trust funds to themselves.
If you wish to have independent Executors to manage your estate we at Nicholson Jones Sutton Solicitors will be happy to act on your behalf.
The people holding the assets of the estate on behalf of the beneficiaries are known as your Trustees. Trustees are nominated within the Will to administer the Trust on your behalf. It is always prudent to consider carefully who should be appointed as a Trustee and to appoint at least two to act on your behalf.
We offer the following types of Trust Wills to assist in different circumstances:
In England and Wales, a person (testator) is free to leave their estate to whomever they wish as we do not have forced heirship rules. However, excluded persons may be able to make a claim against your estate under the Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependants Act (IPFDA) 1975.
There are several grounds on which a Will can be challenged. The most common being that reasonable financial provision has not been made for a person(s) who qualifies under one of the categories stated in the IPFDA 1975.
Other grounds to contest a Wil include the lack of mental capacity of the testator or undue influence had been placed forcing the making of a Will. If a Will is made professionally, your specialist will insist on seeing you by yourself to remove any influences and establishing your mental capacity. If there is any doubt, they may also suggest having a medical expert assess your mental capacity, this not only protects you but more importantly your beneficiaries once you have passed away.
To protect your Will as much as possible in the event you choose to leave a relative out of your Will this can be clarified in a none provision clause within the Will, along with a supplemental statement setting out your reasons.
Alternatively, you could leave a lesser sum to an individual with a no-contest clause which means they could forfeit their inheritance if they do challenge your Will.
It is important to note that when you marry, an existing Will is automatically revoked (cancelled). If you do not make a new Will after you marry, the rules of intestacy will apply which makes the assumption that at least the first part of your estate will pass to your new spouse. Quite often if this is a second or subsequent marriage this may not be the intended outcome as there may be children from a previous relationship that you would also like to make provision for.
If you are getting married, you can put a Will in place which includes a contemplation of marriage clause, which will not be revoked by the marriage and ensures your wishes are met.
A further point to consider before you marry, especially if you have a larger estate, is whether a pre-nuptial agreement would be of benefit to you.
You should always keep your Will somewhere safe and advise your Executors where it is being kept. If you have made your Will with a solicitor, they will usually store your Will for you. Some individuals may prefer to store their own Will in a safe at home or with the bank in a deposit box. Care should be taken if you are storing your own Will as any damage to a Will has to be clarified by affidavit (sworn statement) to the Probate Registry on death. If your Will cannot be found it could be construed as having destroyed it in your lifetime and therefore the Intestacy Rules would apply.
There is no legal requirement for a Will to be registered. However, registration does allow a greater chance of your Will being proved and for your intended beneficiaries to receive their inheritance. The National Wills Register favoured by the Law Society is Certainty. We can arrange for your Will to be registered once you have executed (signed) it. The fee is currently £30 inclusive of VAT.
Our Private Client Team can help you with the following aspects of a Will:
Call us today and one of our experienced team members will help guide you through the process.
Our team has extensive experience in dealing with Wills. They are sympathetic, understanding, and prepare the document that meets your individual requirements.
Nicholson Jones Sutton Solicitors offers a range of fixed price services, so you’re safe in the knowledge that whilst you have an expert legal team on your side there are no hidden fees.
If you would like to make your Will or require some more information, please get in touch via phone or email to arrange a free no obligation consultation.
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Adele is a qualified solicitor with over 20 years experience working in the legal sector, predominantly within Litigation.
Adele joined the firm in March 2021 and is the member of the management team responsible for the firms strategy, including the growth of a number of key areas of legal practice, heading up the Housing Disrepair and Probate Teams. She also has a keen interest in technology, in particular automation, and will be working on optimising the firm’s processes.
In her spare time Adele enjoys walking the family cockapoo, watching her son play sport, travelling to new places and is obsessed with all things interiors!
Melanie has more than 10 years’ experience in Private Client work and joined the firm in November 2021. Melanie’s priority is to ensure our clients receive the highest level of service and support.
Melanie has previously worked with Military Personnel and Veterans ensuring they were represented at Tribunal, in relation to injuries or illnesses they sustained whilst serving our Country.
Melanie enjoys all aspects of private client work. She had an empathy with the client and wants to be able to assist them, through some of the most difficult decisions and times in their lives.
In her spare time, Melanie enjoys travelling, socialising with family and friends and live music.
Tracy has more than 15 years’ experience as a legal secretary. Tracy began working in litigation department for the firm back in February 2021.
Tracy is new to the Housing Disrepair team and Probate team after joining the teams from dealing with Personal Injury claims within the Road Traffic Accident department. Tracy’s priority is to ensure our clients receive the highest level of support.
Interests: walking, family and friends