Figures show that over half of UK adults do not have a Will. Many say that they plan to make a Will later in life because they feel that it will be too complex and costly. This is particularly common for those with step families. As a result, over 31 million run the risk of dying intestate and having their estate distributed solely according to Intestacy Law.Law of Intestacy Flowchart - The Law Practice

Recent studies have shown that people aged 55 and over are 3 times more likely to have a Will than those aged 18 to 34. The 35 to 54 age bracket isn’t much better. Only a quarter of those aged 35 to 54 have a Will, despite having dependents and major financial commitments.

To help convince those who are delaying or even having doubts about writing or updating a Will, we’ve listed 10 very good reasons why you should.

  • If you do not leave a Will, the law decides how your estate is passed on and this may not be in line with your wishes. This may lead to your spouse having to share your estate with your children whom you may not have intended to benefit straight away. This leads us onto point 2…
  • In England and Wales, if you are married with children, you might assume that all your assets would go to your spouse. However, if you die without a valid Will and your estate is worth more than £250,000, your partner will only get the first £250,000. If you do not leave a Will, your spouse will get one half of the remainder of the estate and your children, the other half between them. If your assets are worth less than £250,000, your children will get nothing.
  • If you are not married, your partner is not legally entitled to any of your estates when you die. At present, the intestacy rules do not recognise cohabitees. If you live with your partner and die without having made a Will, your partner will not automatically inherit any of your estates – there is no such thing as a “common law wife”. Your partner may have a claim on the estate, but this is expensive and a situation that should be avoided.
  • A Will permits you to appoint guardians to look after your children if they are under 18 and you can also make financial arrangements for their benefit in the event of your death.
  • Writing a Will can ensure Inheritance Tax (IHT) is kept to a minimum. A properly drafted Trust in your Will could enable someone to manage the inheritance you leave to a disabled or vulnerable person and may ensure the intended beneficiary does not lose his/her means-tested benefits.
  • A Will allows you to choose your own Executors. If you die without a Will, your closest relatives will need to apply for ‘Letters of Administration’. The Executors chosen on your behalf may not be in line with your wishes.
  • A Will allows you to leave specific sums or items to individuals. These can range from items of jewellery to sums of money.
  • A Will also makes it much easier for your family or friends to sort everything out when you die. Without a Will, the process can be more time consuming and stressful.
  • It is possible to write your own Will; however homemade Wills should only be used in the most straightforward of circumstances. i.e. leaving your entire estate to 1 person. At The Law Practice (UK) Ltd, we do not recommend that you write your own Will as without legal assistance, mistakes can be made which can be disastrous, leading to invalid Wills, or the wrong beneficiaries benefitting. Homemade Wills are unregulated and do not offer the consumer protection that a solicitor does as we are backed by Professional Indemnity Insurance and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
  • Once you have a valid Will, you should review it every 5 years and after any major change in your life such as marriage or divorce, moving home, having a baby or if the executor dies. It is important to note that your Will is automatically revoked on marriage.

Don’t leave anything to chance – get in touch with The Law Practice (UK) Ltd today for further information regarding our Will writing service. Our team of expert solicitors can professionally draft your Will for you or aid you in reviewing your Will as it stands.

To make an appointment, or simply to speak to a member of the team, please contact us.

A Will is a legal declaration of your wishes on death and is only valid if it complies with certain requirements set by law. A Will is the only way you can help ensure your wishes are carried out after your death.

Over 60% of adults in England and Wales are currently living without a Will. Two-thirds of adults in England and Wales pass away each year without having made a valid Will. Some people simply don’t get around to making one, others don’t realise that significant events in life, for example, marriage, can revoke a previously made Will.

Most people are not familiar with what happens upon death when there is no active Will. If you are a resident of England and Wales and die without having made a legally valid Will or a Will that has partially failed in some way, your estate becomes subject to the Governments Rules of Intestacy. The Rules of Intestacy determine how your estate is to be distributed after the payment of all your debts and liabilities, testamentary expenses and funeral costs.

This diagram shows how your estate would be distributed in this instance.

Law of Intestacy Flowchart - The Law PracticePlease note:

  • The issue (any child/children) of a pre-deceased member of a class (relation group) will inherit that share.
  • Step relations have no entitlement unless legally adopted by the deceased.
  • These rules are effective for deaths on or after 1 October 2014
  • Property held as joint tenants passes to the other joint tenant, irrespective of the Rules of Intestacy.
  • The Rules of Intestacy do not recognise ‘unmarried partners’ and therefore no provision is made for them.

The death of a family member can be a stressful and upsetting time so it’s important that you have a law firm in your corner who can look after both your estate and the interests of your family. Our experts at The Law Practice (UK) Ltd will ensure that both are handled in a professional, caring and cost­ effective manner. We offer a flexible pricing plan, and fixed fee options for Will writing and are happy to provide quotes for the handling and administration of an estate in the event of a death.

For further information about the importance of writing a Will, visit our dedicated Wills and Probate page

To speak to one of our experts in our Wills and Probate team, contact us here

Over half of the adult population do not have a Will in place leaving their final wishes in the hands of the Governments Intestacy Rules.

There are many cheap Will writing options available today in the form of Will writing kits and online versions but are these suffice in dealing with your wishes?

Some of the mistakes people make too often when writing their own final wishes are:

  • Forgetting to appoint executors to deal with the administration of their estate and make sure final wishes are carried out.
  • Not dealing with all of their assets. They make mention of the house/cars/jewellery etc and fail to mention other assets or financial policies.
  • Referring to specific assets which might change by the time they have died
  • Not getting the Will signed and witnessed properly. To be valid in the United Kingdom, the Will must be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses, who must both be present when the testator signs. The witnesses then sign in the testator’s presence.
  • Making amendments to the Will after it has been signed and witnessed.
  • Losing the Will.
  • Failing to write a Letter of Wishes.

Critically using a Solicitor means you will get the right advice based on questions the Solicitor will ask you.

This includes advice on Inheritance Tax, severing a tenancy, making sure family are looked after, making sure home or medical care is accounted for if necessary, funeral arrangements and much more.

Many people have complicated family arrangements now, second (or third) marriages, stepchildren and/or adopted children. Wills for these circumstances can take time to get right, and require skilled legal knowledge.

Spending more and having a qualified legal professional write your wishes can ultimately save much more financially down the line if the Will is contested.

If your car was broken you would take it to a mechanic to fix, if you had a leak, you would call out a plumber – professionals who know their trade.

For a Will – use a qualified Solicitor!

For a no-obligation chat about your circumstances, contact our Wills and Probate team today.

For further information about the importance of writing a will, visit our dedicated Wills and Probate page.

The Importance of a Will, and How a Solicitor Can Help You

For the avoidance of doubt. One day you will die! This is not breaking news but for something that is a certainty two thirds of the UK Population do not prepare for this by failing to make a will. Intestacy queries with the citizens advice bureau have doubled over the last 5 years.

At a stressful time for your loved ones leaving a will gives your friends/family an informed choice of how your assets should be distributed. Also, who will oversee organising your estate and following the instructions you leave in your will.

Using a solicitor can save a lot of stress for those you leave behind, as well as giving you a bit more peace of mind.

Your will tells people two very important things:

  • Who should have your money, property and possessions when you die.
  • Who will oversee organising your estate and following the instructions you leave in your will.

Seriously consider using a solicitor to write your will if:

  • You have overseas assets.
  • You run a business and you expect it to form a part of your estate.
  • You will have to pay Inheritance Tax – this is paid on estates valued at over £325,000 for an individual or up to £650,000 for a married couple.
  • Your family position is complicated – perhaps you have children with a previous partner, or you want to make special arrangements for children or a family member with a disability.

The benefits of using a solicitor:

  • You are protected if something goes wrong. Solicitors are regulated.
  • You can be more confident there are no mistakes.
  • The complicated areas are done for you. Solicitors will be familiar with the law and will be able to help you make the most effective choices.
  • Your will is stored safely.

What to expect from your solicitor:

Your solicitor should:

  • Explain your options to help you make decisions about your will
  • Give advice that is confidential and puts your best interests first
  • Write and check your will according to your instructions

Make sure they also give a clear indication of costs and how they will be calculated at an early stage.

Solicitors as executors:

You can choose to appoint the solicitor or law firm who draws up your will as your executor. This means they will handle the arrangements for your estate when you die. Most importantly having a solicitor as executor means there is no emotional connection and their job is to carry out your wishes to the fullest extent.

The Law Practice UK Ltd have a specific Wills and Probate department based in both our Midlands and Hertfordshire offices. Please do not hesitate to call Katie Lawley to discuss your requirements.