Why should I make a Will?
Ask yourself the following:
Do I expect my spouse to inherit all my property?
Do I want to make special provision for children, grandchildren and friends?
If I have young children would I feel safer appointing a legal guardian in case something happens to me?
Would I like advice to minimise Inheritance Tax so that my family benefit and not the tax man?
Wouldn't I want to appoint someone I know and trust to ensure my wishes are respected?
If you answer "yes" to any of these then you need a properly drafted Will.
What should I include in my Will?
You can choose who carries out your wishes (your Executors). You can set out whom you wish to benefit from your estate and in what proportions. A Will can allow you to set up a fund to benefit people long after you have passed away (a trust). You can benefit charities if you want. A Will provides certainty as to what is to happen to you and can give guidance to your views on organ donation. This can be of much help to relatives at a difficult time.
Can anyone challenge my Will?
A Will is your wish. There is no point doing one if people can simply change it after you've gone. Sometimes people may try to challenge or "contest" a Will. People may argue that someone did not understand what they were doing when they made their Will or that they were pushed into it. Sometimes a person may have been left out of a Will (by accident or on purpose) when that person was reliant on the person who has died for money and financial support. In these circumstances the law can allow certain people to try to claim from an estate. It is very important therefore that you take legal advice when doing a Will. With vast experience in Will drafting and estate administration, we can help you avoid possible pitfalls.
How often do I need to change my Will?
It is advisable to review your Will generally every five or six years. There may be many reasons though which mean you should review your Will. You may have married since you made your last Will (in which case your Will may actually have been revoked) or you may be divorcing or separating. You may have children or more children or grandchildren now and want to include them in your Will. Your wealth may have gone up and Inheritance Tax could affect you now. Has the value of your house gone up in the last five or six years? If you need to alter your Will you should seek legal advice. We can recommend whether you need a new Will or simply a Codicil. You should not attempt to alter your own existing Will or attach anything to it. This could cause your Will to be void or give many problems to your Executors.
Can I write my own Will?
You can try, but many of the problems encountered with Wills often come from "home-made" Wills. The Probate Registry will usually have to approve the Will before your estate can be collected in. Incomplete signatures, not enough witnesses, pages missing, no date, wrong names, ineffective gifts and not revoking an earlier Will are a few examples of things which can go wrong if you have not sought legal advice for the preparation of your Will.