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.