Making a will ensures that your estate passes to your loved ones the way in which you want it to.
According to a recent survey, 63% of people in the UK do not have a will. Those surveyed blamed a lack of time, being too young or not having enough money. There is a common belief that if you die without a will, your spouse/civil partner, partner or children will automatically inherit your estate. The reality is that the law will decide what happens to your estate in accordance with the intestacy rules. For example:
if you have a partner to whom you are not married, they will not be entitled to anything from your estate even if you are cohabiting.
If you are married or in a civil partnership, your spouse/civil partner may not necessarily inherit your entire estate.
In addition if you have children under the age of 18 and you have not made a will the courts will decide who will be their guardians.
With careful planning, you can use the terms of your will as a means of reducing potential inheritance tax on your estate. Inheritance tax is payable at 40% on the portion of your estate that exceeds £325,000 (fixed until 2015).
You can appoint guardians for your children if they are under 18 and set up trusts to safeguard the future of your children or grandchildren.
Making a will is not nearly as complicated as you may think and the service does not have to be expensive. At Paul Robinson Solicitors, we take the time to listen to and understand your requirements so that we can give you tailored advice on the issues you need to consider, ways to save inheritance tax both during your lifetime and in your will and alert you to any potential claims against the estate.
The partners in this firm are happy to be appointed as your executors (executors are the people whom you appoint to administer your estate). We do not make a separate charge for this appointment and it often makes dealing with the administration of the estate much easier and avoids possible family disputes. We provide free storage in our vault for wills prepared by us and if you wish us to do so, we will also register your Will with Certainty, the National Wills Register, so that you can be certain that your Will can be located after your death.
Once made, you should review your will at least every five years and particularly after any major change in your life such as moving house, getting married or divorced or the arrival of grandchildren. By making a will, you can give your family peace of mind and save them a lot of stress and heartache at what will be a very distressing and emotional time. You may also want to consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney which covers the position if you become mentally incapable of handling your affairs during your lifetime.
If you would like to review your existing will, or make a new one, please contact Lee Hibell (Billericay office) on 01277 500123 or Victoria Shepherd (Westcliff office) on 01702 338338.