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    Making a Will

    Making a Will is something many of us put off, continually pushing it to the back of our minds because we’d rather not think about what’s going to happen when we die. However, a Will is the single most important legacy you can leave your loved ones.

    As experienced legal specialists in this area, we believe making a Will needs to be a priority, regardless of age. None of us know what’s around the corner, and you don’t want to give family and friends the added burden of handling your affairs if you do die intestate i.e. without having made a Will.

    Why is making a Will so important?

    A Will sets out who your money and property (your estate) will pass to after your death. If you do not make a Will, your estate passes according to the statutory intestacy provisions, an often inflexible and unfair system.

    It is especially important to do so if you:

    1. Marry, as marriage revokes existing Wills or start to co-habit or ‘move-in’ with your partner

    For example, many assume that if they are married or in a registered civil partnership, their spouse or partner will automatically receive their estate on their death, but this is not the case. If you have children, your spouse or civil partner is only entitled to your ‘personal chattels’, a statutory legacy of £250,000 and half of the remainder of your estate.

    If you are not married or in a registered civil partnership, your partner will not be entitled to receive anything under the intestacy provisions. For these reasons, you must have a valid Will.

    1. Buy or sell a home
    2. Start a family
    3. Inherit substantial sums of money and/or property
    4. Start a business, or your existing business expands or contracts
    5. Become divorced or separated
    6. Have an accident
    7. Suffer from, or develop, a long term or terminal illness

    If you have a Will it is important that it is reviewed and updated regularly, to consider changes in your circumstances and lifestyle.

    Things to consider when making a Will: 

    • Who you want your money and property to pass to and in the way you want
    • Choose responsible executors to carry out your wishes
    • Include legacies to individuals and charities
    • Make provisions to save Inheritance Tax and care fees
    • Ensure that your spouse or partner always has a home
    • Appoint guardians to care for your children and provide money for their maintenance
    • Give rights of occupation to adult children who are still living at your home when you die
    • Ensure an inheritance for your children if your partner remarries after your death
    • Secure the future of your family business
    • Provide for disabled children or other dependants

    Can I draft my own Will?

    Homemade Wills, those Wills drawn up by unregulated Will writers or prepared through the internet, are often not valid or are challenged as the strict rules governing Wills are not adhered to.

    Errors such as failing to deal with the entire estate, inadvertently using legal terms which have a different effect than intended or not making substitute provisions in case a beneficiary dies, are more likely to be found in Wills not drawn up by fully trained practitioners found at solicitors.

    Wills drawn up by a firm of solicitors offer the benefit of additional guarantees from such organisations as the Law Society.

    How do I start making a Will with Steeles Law?

    At Steeles Law, we understand that your Will is probably the most important legal document you will ever sign, so it is vital that you are happy with its content. Our legal practitioners who have many years experience and include Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners members, take the time get to know you and understand your needs. We make drafting a Will as easy and straightforward as possible.

    Steeles Law Wills, Trusts and Tax team continue to share legal updates and industry insights to educate clients in order for them to take measures to protect themselves when planning for later life. See our article links for more information, or see our news page for the legal sector updates:

    18 May 2020: Q&A: Making a Will in a pandemic

    12 February 2020: Cohabiting couples – do you need to make a Will?

    5 May 2017: Wills and LPAs: Why the “DIY” approach might cost you in the long run

    4 August 2015: The perils of a poorly drafted Will

    1 April 2015: 7 reasons not to make a Will, but why you SHOULD!

    To discuss amending or making a Will, please contact our dedicated Wills, Trusts and Probate team on 01603 598000 or by emailing probate@steeleslaw.co.uk. Appointments are available at our Diss, Norwich and London offices or home visits by appointment.

    Will Planner

    By completing our Will Planner you can provide us with all your basic personal details and it gives you an idea of the type of questions we will ask you. This means we’re fully prepared before we meet, and we can create your Will as easy as possible.