WHAT IS A WILL?
Your Will is a legally binding document that determines what happens to your assets after you pass away, this can include any property you own, bank accounts, investments, personal belongings and business interests. Your will also sets out who you want to be responsible for distributing your assets and where applicable, look after any children under 18. It can also be used to protect your assets and reduce any potential Inheritance Tax your estate could pay.
WHY MAKE A WILL?
Your Assets: In the event of your death without a Will, the law sets out what will happen to your assets. Use this link to the government website to see how these rules would apply to you. https://www.gov.uk/inherits-someone-dies-without-will
In many cases this would result in your assets not going to those you would wish to provide for, particularly for unmarried couples and second families.
Practicalities: Your Will appoints an Executor who will be the person responsible for gathering in your assets and passing them on to your beneficiaries. They can act straight away following death to ensure that all ongoing bills are dealt with and asset holders, such as banks, are informed. If you have not appointed an Executor in your Will, the law allocates a personal representative to be in charge of distributing your estate. Until they have gone through the process of obtaining Letters of Administration from the court to appoint them to deal with your estate, they will not be allowed to access any of your assets. Practically this can make things difficult for your loved ones.
Protect your children: Your Will gives you the opportunity to nominate Guardians – setting out who you would want to look after any children under the age of 18 in the event of your death. This is a decision many people find difficult but it is important to bear in mind that you can change your will at any point and you should review your Will every five years. HOWEVER if you’re difficulty in deciding who to appoint is delaying you in making your will, then you should go ahead anyway to at least ensure your children are provided for financially and add an appointment of Guardians later.
Protect vulnerable beneficiaries: you may wish to provide for a beneficiary whom you consider to be vulnerable. This may be due to their age, health, lifestyle, circumstances or other vulnerabilities which mean that leaving assets to them directly could put them or the assets at risk. A will can provide for vulnerable beneficiaries and protect their interests at the same time.
Second Families : Parents of second families and those who have re-married often worry about how that can protect the interest of both their spouse and their children while trying to avoid any disputes in the event of their death. It is possible to use a simple trust, often referred to as a Family Trust or a Property Protection Trust to ensure that a spouse is provided for and can remain in the family home while making provision for children following their death. There are a number of options available in these situations and we will be happy to guide you.
Specific gifts and cash legacies: You can leave specific items of personal or sentimental value to loved ones or cash legacies to people or charities that are important to you
Avoiding disputes: Your Will sets out how you want your estate to be distributed. This may lead to disputes among your family or beneficiaries. This is something we can discuss with you and advise you on in order to best manage the risk of any dispute and give you peace of mind that your wishes will be followed.
Funeral Wishes: You may have specific ideas about how and where you want your funeral to be. Your Will can communicate these to your executors and family.
Save Inheritance Tax: If your estate is likely to be subject to inheritance tax, there are often reliefs or exemptions available. Your will can be drafted to maximise these allowances and save your estate on Inheritance Tax. We will also tell you about things you can do in your lifetime to save Inheritance Tax and protect your assets.
WHY USE A SOLICITOR?
Professional advice: A solicitor can advise on the complexities listed above and ensure that your Will meets your needs and that you and your family are protected.
Regulated for your protection: Solicitors are heavily regulated to ensure the highest level of service and utmost protection of clients. In the rare event that something goes wrong with your Will, you are covered by your solicitors’ indemnity insurance. This is often not the case for Will writers who are not regulated in the same way.
Ensure your Will is Valid: A will is not effective until it has been signed. But beware there are strict rules on signing – if these are not followed correctly your will could be invalid. A solicitor will usually supervise the signing and witnessing of your will to make sure that it is valid.
WHAT CAN HOOPER BURROWES LEGAL OFFER ME?
We offer a complete Will-writing and advisory service which includes:
– A consultation with a solicitor to discuss the preparation of a new will or the review of an existing will
– A review of your estate and advice on any related risks and your inheritance tax position
– Preparation of a draft will, according to your instructions and sending out to you with an explanatory letter
– Taking any further instructions regarding the draft documents, advising and amending the drafts as required
-A consultation to finalise details and ensure your will is correctly signed
– Storage for your original Will (no charge is made for retrieval of documents for secure storage)
– A reduction in fees on any Lasting Powers of Attorney prepared at the same time as your will
HOW MUCH DOES A WILL COST?
Our fees for the preparation of a simple Will for an individual are £300 plus VAT and for two wills for a couple are £400 plus VAT for both.
If you wish to include a trust in your Will, for vulnerable beneficiaries or in the case of second families, fees start from £450 plus vat for an individual or £600 plus VAT for both Wills for a couple.
These prices are simply a guide to usual fees and may vary to meet individual client’s specific requirements.
All inclusive fixed fees for Will services are offered to ensure charges are fully understood and manageable.
A quote for services is always provided at the outset of the matter and charges are confirmed in writing in a client care letter with terms of business at the outset. Any additional charges will only be incurred upon further discussion and agreement by the clients.
Our fees are reviewed regularly to ensure that we are competitively and reasonably priced offering good value to clients.
CORONAVIRUS: I AM VULNERABLE / SHIELDING. CAN I MAKE A WILL WITHOUT MEETING ANYONE?
We have put procedures in place to make our office as safe as possible for our staff and visiting clients. However we understand it will not be possible for some clients to meet with us or that you may not feel safe in doing so. Some of our usual procedures have been relaxed by the law society to allow us to complete Wills without meeting in person provided certain criteria are met. Provided we are satisfied that those criteria are met we will be happy to assist with your Will by post or email and via phone or Zoom.
HOW CAN I ENQUIRE FURTHER OR ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT?
Please contact Georgia Davies, our solicitor specialising in wills if you have any queries or would like to arrange an appointment. Georgia is available on 01743 292444 and GeorgiaD@HBLegal.co.uk