There are two main reasons for instructing a true expert when it comes to drafting a will or setting up a trust.
: A carefully considered and well-thought-out will or trust needs to look further ahead than many would think. Perhaps past the immediate beneficiaries, as the future can hold a number of possibilities and uncertainties. You need confidence in where and to whom your estate will pass.
: An important consideration that is often overlooked and underappreciated. What issues, charities, or cultural and artistic bodies interest you? A will or a trust is not simply about 'who gets what', but also how you would like to be remembered. You may wish your family and friends to remember you as having left money to a cause dear to your heart.
The best way to tackle such issues is in a face-to-face meeting. Our friendly solicitors will listen to your family background, your concerns, and what has been of importance to you during your life. This very important meeting is included in our fixed-fee quotations
Don't leave it too late, this is a complex area of law and taxation which requires expert consideration to ensure your loved ones are taken care of.
Your Estate Goes To The Beneficiaries You Choose
Inheritance Tax Is Minimised
Your Will Is Ideally Tailored To Your Circumstances And Needs
If your estate requires the setting up of a trust(s), our experts will guide you through the process to ensure your wishes are followed exactly.
To fit around your busy life all work can be carried out online, by post and by telephone. However, we would be happy to make you an appointment if you would prefer to see an expert face to face.
Updating a will to reflect a person’s current circumstances is naturally important and needs to be done formally, rather than by simply altering the wording of an existing signed and witnessed will, which would invalidate it. There are two methods of doing so - either by drafting a codicil, a legal document that makes alterations and serves as a supplement to an existing will, or by writing an entirely new will to replace the old one.
Changes to a will reflect changes to a person’s life, such as a marriage/civil partnership, divorce/separation, the birth of a child (who does not automatically become a beneficiary) or a change in financial circumstances, for example, when an individual sells a property or receives an inheritance. It may also be the case that a beneficiary to an existing will has died, or that the testator simply wishes to change how their estate is distributed following their death.
Major events can also affect the validity of an existing will. A marriage or entry into a civil partnership, for example, means that a previous will is automatically invalidated, while if a person divorces or dissolves a civil partnership and the former spouse or civil partner is the sole beneficiary, the deceased will be held to have died intestate (without a valid will). Various other complexities regarding the rights of former partners highlight the need to update a will as soon as possible following a separation.
Generally speaking, simple changes to a will, such as appointing a new executor to redirecting a bequest to a different beneficiary, can be made via a codicil, while more significant changes, such as those outlined above, will require the writing of a new will to replace the old one. Codicils are the cheaper alternative but can add to the complexity of administering an estate in the future (particularly if there is more than one codicil), as all the documents will need to be evaluated together, which may result in the deceased’s wishes being misinterpreted.
Drafting a new will can avoid any confusion as to the intentions of the deceased, as well as the possibility of a codicil being lost for whatever reason. When a new will is written, all copies of old wills and codicils should be destroyed, and the new will should clearly state that it revokes (cancels) any such previous documents. If an estate requires a Grant of Probate, both a will and any alterations made by a codicil will be publicly visible, and a further reason for writing a new will is to prevent disclosure of such changes.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably led to a sharp rise in the number of wills being drafted, updated and stored. With the virus affecting people of all ages, and especially senior citizens, many are naturally keen to get their affairs in order, either by having a will drafted or by updating an existing will.
The recent rise in infections among young people, and the implied danger of them infecting older people around them, highlights the seemingly random and indiscriminate nature of COVID-19. Faced with the reality of the virus and its uncertain progress, people are naturally anxious about the future and in a hurry to organise their personal affairs. The services of an experienced local solicitor are therefore even more important than usual in ensuring an estate is settled according to the testator’s wishes.
Louise Nelson has been handling wills, trusts and probate matters in Liverpool and Merseyside for 39 years, and is assisted by Fran Cartwright, an accomplished solicitor specialising in this area of law. Get in touch with our team for a no obligation quotation.