The main reason for making a will is to make sure your estate passes to the beneficiaries you choose, including family, friends and good causes. A will is about planning ahead and protecting your legacy.
This depends on the complexity of the will. After a face-to-face meeting with your solicitor, either in person or virtually (online), a draft can be prepared in 7-10 days. More complicated wills obviously take more time.
Every client’s needs are different, and the cost of a will depends on the complexity of those needs and the amount of work required to draft them into an agreed and valid document. You can view our guide prices here
Wills, trusts and probate is a complicated area of law, and the services of an experienced solicitor specialising in this field are important in ensuring that a will accurately reflects the wishes of the client(s). DIY wills often limit the powers of the executor, which can lead to problems in the future
An executor is charged with ensuring that a will is administered correctly and according to the testator’s wishes. The executor(s) is normally a family member, but may also be a friend or professional legal adviser.
Reasons for updating a will include a marriage/civil partnership, divorce/separation, the birth of a child or a significant change in financial circumstances. An existing will is revoked (cancelled) by marriage or a civil partnership, and will therefore need to be updated.
The individual will be held to have died ‘intestate’, and their estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. The rules mean that the estate will be distributed to family members in a fixed order, which often will not reflect the wishes of the deceased, hence the importance of making a valid will.
The Inheritance Tax threshold is currently £325,000, meaning estates valued below this ‘nil-rate band’ will not have to pay any tax. If an estate if left to a spouse or civil partner, regardless of the value, there will be no tax to pay. Otherwise, 40% Inheritance Tax will be due on the remainder of an estate valued above the threshold.
Two witnesses are required to make a will legally binding. To ensure impartiality, these should be independent persons who are not family members, their spouses or civil partners, or beneficiaries of your will. Witnesses are commonly friends, neighbours or work colleagues.
The inheritance laws in the country in which the assets are located will apply, and this will vary from country to country, so it may be necessary to make two separate wills (one in the UK and one abroad) to ensure the assets to the intended beneficiary. Inheritance Tax may also be different and significantly higher overseas.