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Get help with writing your Will

All effective estate planning starts with making a Will.

If you die without making a Will, there is no guarantee that the people you would like to benefit from your estate will receive anything at all on your death.

It is important to make a Will whatever your circumstances. Although Inheritance tax planning and Will drafting often go hand in hand, Wills aren't all about money. They also deal with issues such as funeral arrangements, nominating guardians for young children and the distribution of personal possessions.

You may also need to have a Will in place for the following reasons:

  • To retain control over the disposal of your estate after your death – if you die without making a Will, the distribution of your estate (i.e. how your money, property and possessions are allocated) is dictated by the rules of intestacy. These are statutory rules which cannot be varied without the consent of all of the beneficiaries who benefit under them. If the intestacy rules take effect, you have no control over the way that your estate is distributed. Unmarried cohabitees are not currently recognised at all under the Intestacy rules and it is not automatic that a spouse will inherit all of their late spouse’s estate.
  • To minimise any Inheritance Tax liability – the preparation of Wills using a tax efficient structure can help to reduce the burden of Inheritance Tax on your estate.
  • To provide protection for vulnerable beneficiaries – if you would like to make provision in your Will for a vulnerable beneficiary, it is possible to set up a trust which will protect their interests.
  • To provide for a change in circumstances – if your personal circumstances have changed, it is important to ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes. If you are separated from a spouse or partner, you may wish to review your Will to ensure that they will not benefit from your estate on death. If you have married or entered into a Civil Partnership, your will may have been revoked.
  • To select appropriate Executors and Trustees – your Executors are responsible for administering your estate in accordance with the terms of your Will. Not everybody is suited to the role of Executor so it is important that you choose these carefully.
  • To provide for future generations – you may wish to provide for grandchildren, great grandchildren or even future generations in your Will. It is possible to delay the distribution of assets to these beneficiaries by leaving your estate or a proportion of your estate in trust.

At Weightmans, we understand that each individual's circumstances are unique and pride ourselves on preparing Wills suited to your particular needs.

Our expertise includes:

  • Drafting Wills at all levels of complexity
  • Inheritance tax planning through Wills
  • Protecting the rights of cohabitees
  • Wealth protection and trust creation for different family members and future generations

Our Will writing solicitors are well placed to help, even where there's already a Will in place. It's vital that Wills are reviewed regularly to take into account changes in both circumstances and the law.

So whether you’re writing a new Will, or updating your current one, we'll work with you to tailor our service to best meet your needs.

Frequently asked questions

  • What will happen if I die without a Will?

    If you die without a Will, the distribution of your estate (your personal possessions, money and property) will be dealt with under the rules of intestacy (a set of legal rules which dictate who will benefit). The intestacy rules are rigid and may not reflect your wishes, for example, they make no provision for unmarried partners. The intestacy rules also govern who is entitled to deal with the administration of your estate.

    Making a Will is the only way to ensure your estate passes to your chosen beneficiaries. It also enables you to choose your executors, appoint guardians for young children, include cash gifts or gifts of specific items, and detail your funeral wishes. It may be appropriate to include a trust structure in your Will to offer a degree of protection for your chosen beneficiaries or to allow flexibility for future generations to use the trusts for their own wealth/tax planning.

  • Will my estate automatically pass to my spouse or partner?

    Even if you are married, your spouse is not necessarily entitled to benefit from your whole estate on your death. The intestacy rules are constantly subject to change and the outcomes of dying without a Will can be surprising and often unjust. Making a Will is the only way to ensure your loved ones are provided for in accordance with your wishes.

    The intestacy rules do not make any provision for unmarried partners. The best way to ensure a cohabiting partner is provided for is to make a Will.

  • What else can I include in my Will?

    As well as dealing with the distribution of choosing who will benefit from your estate and choosing who will administer your estate, your Will can guide your family and friends on your funeral wishes, include gifts of specific items (such as your car or jewellery), cash gifts to individuals or charities and specific provision for your agricultural and business assets. You can also appoint guardians for young children and detail your funeral wishes.

    Your Will can also be a useful tool to retain a degree of control over how your assets are dealt with after you die and for inheritance tax planning.

  • How often do I need to change my Will?

    You should review your Will regularly to ensure it continues to reflect your wishes and circumstances. As your personal and/or financial circumstances change, you should consider updating your Will. Examples include:

    • Marriage will automatically revoke any Will you had in place previously.
    • Change in family circumstances, for example having children or grandchildren.
    • Divorce
    • Significant changes in your financial situation

    In any event, we suggest reviewing your Will at least every three years to assess whether there have been any changes to the law or tax allowances which would necessitate a change to your Will.

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