Why Make a Will?
A Will is one of the most important documents that anyone makes during their lifetime. It allows you to specify who you want to deal with the administration of your estate and who you want to benefit, whether friends, family or charity.
For parents with young children a Will allows you to appoint legally recognised guardians and for those keen to mitigate Inheritance Tax, it can be a useful instrument.
The overriding benefit however is perhaps the peace of mind that comes from knowing your affairs are in order, which ultimately minimises the distress caused to those around you at what can be a difficult time when someone passes away.
There are many reasons for making a Will, yet many people still die without one. A well drafted Will can take account of particular family circumstances such as a second marriage, children who have financial or matrimonial problems, or a beneficiary with a disability.
Without a Will your estate passes according to the rules of intestacy and those who you wish to benefit, might not. The intestacy rules also specify who deals with the administration of your estate following your death, which may mean that the job is given to someone that you feel is unsuitable for the task.
One of the most important decisions in making a Will is appointing executors, as they are the people who will actually carry out your wishes.
Executors need to be people you can trust to properly administer your estate and any on-going trusts. Most people choose friends or relatives but in many cases Rix & Kay have also been asked to act as executors to add an independent, professional stance.
Another important aspect is the age at which your children inherit.
A Will allows you to place assets under the control of trustees until children reach a specified age. This can help protect assets for future generations of your family and stop them being squandered.
Why use a Solicitor
Whilst it is possible to prepare a Will yourself or instruct an unregulated Will writer to prepare one for you, Solicitors are legally trained, professionally qualified and bound by a stringent code of professional conduct rules, making them best placed to prepare what is a complex legal document. Solicitors are also trained to give advice on related aspects such as trust law, property law and tax law, all of which may have a bearing on how your Will should be drawn up. Solicitors are covered by compulsory professional indemnity insurance, meaning that if anything does go wrong and they cause a loss to their client, they are adequately insured and the client is properly protected. Unlike Solicitors, Will writers do not have to be legally trained, qualified or insured and there is no mechanism for bringing complaints against them. If on the other hand you create a Will yourself, there is no way of guaranteeing that the document is valid or effective. Language can sometimes lead to uncertainty about what it was that you intended, which may in the long run cause more problems than not having a Will at all. Professional advice and help from a Solicitor in drawing up your Will is always therefore recommended. It also enables you to discuss ancillary matters, such as Inheritance Tax and properly consider aspects which you may not have otherwise thought of.
How We Can Help
Members of the team are always happy to make home visits.
Review and Changes to Existing Wills
It is important to regularly review an existing Will which you can alter as often as you like to reflect changes in your circumstances. Marriage revokes a Will and the arrival of children or the death of an intended executor or beneficiary may mean changes need to be made.
While any Will is better than none at all, one that is out of date can cause almost as many problems.
We recommend that you review your Will at least every three years, and any time that there are significant changes in your circumstances.
It is important to ensure that any Will is kept safely and we offer a Deed Safe Service, providing secure, 100% confidential storage for clients’ Wills and other legal documents. This is available free of charge for all clients at all our offices.
Factsheet and Questionnaire
For further information about making a Will please read our Wills Facesheet.
As an alternative to calling us to get the ball rolling, if you would like to instruct our specialist Will writing lawyers to help prepare a Will for you, you may want to consider downloading our Wills Questionnaire. Once completed please forward the questionnaire to any of our offices for the attention of the Private Client department. Once received, one of our solicitors will contact you to make an appointment.