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Should I make a Will?

Your Last Will and Testament - a guide to why and when you need one

Wills, Trusts and tax planning

If you pass away without making a Will your estate will be divided up but not necessarily how you wish.

The rules of intestacy will take effect which mean that certain amounts will go to certain family members in accordance with those rules.

If you want to have a say in how your estate is divided up after you die, then it is always a good idea to make a Will.

Reasons why you may want to make a Will include:

·        To make sure the people you want to look after are looked after. If you don’t make a Will, the rules of intestacy may not benefit the ones you want to look after or give to the people you want to benefit the amounts that you want them to have.

·        If you are unmarried or not in a Civil partnership your partner does not have an automatic right to inherit your estate. So, you might want to make a Will to look after your life partner.

·        If you have young children, you can provide in a Will for who you would want to look after them. You can also leave money in trust in your Will for them, to help look after them when they are small and give them when they reach adulthood.

·        If you are keen to support specific charities, you can leave bequests for them in your Will. Those charities would not benefit if you had not made a Will.

·        You can provide for who lives in the family home by deciding who should inherit it and on what terms.

·        Reducing the tax bill. With the increase in value of houses and assets it is possible for your estate to become subject to inheritance tax, even if you are not a millionaire. If you have an estate that may be taxable it is advisable to seek professional advice which would include drafting a Will which could reduce the tax that would have to be paid.

·        Reducing the risk of disputes. Even if you do a Will, it could still be challenged. But if a competent solicitor drafts it the risks of successful challenge are reduced, and it is much more likely that your estate will go where you want it to. This is particularly important if you have a fractured family or for example several marriages, children and stepchildren.

·        Peace of mind for your loved ones. When someone passes away it is a very distressing time and arguments about the division of an estate are the last thing that anyone suffering grief wants to deal with. A well drafted Will makes it clear what you want to happen and should help ease things at that time. You can even leave instructions around matters like your funeral arrangements or pets.

You can change Wills so it’s not a once and forever thing. As your life changes, so if you get married, divorced, or have children, etc, you can make another Will to deal with those changed circumstances and priorities. If you are thinking about changing your Will you should always consult a professional like a solicitor about making a fresh one or a formal Codicil, which is a legal document that acts as a supplement to your last Will and testament. You should never try to write in amendments to an existing Will.

You can easily search for a solicitor for free using our site, simply click the button at the top of this page, which takes you to our Find My Lawyer page (or use this link), and type “Will” into the search bar and click enter.  You can search for a regulated solicitor without ever having to provide your personal details.

If you want further information about writing a Will we have other guidance on this subject on our Guidance page, again simply type “Will” into the search bar and click enter.