WHY MAKE A WILL?
And there are many reasons why it should be professionally written too:
- Your Will may be invalid if it has not been correctly signed and witnessed, as there are strict rules regarding this process.
- An experienced professional Will writer will consider all possible scenarios, even those you have not thought of.
- Most people do not have sufficient knowledge of Testamentary Law to create a Will that does what they want it to do.
- Professional Will writers should have liability insurance to cover any claims.
There are many reasons why it is important to make a Will:
- To ensure your wishes are known and will be carried out.
- To appoint executors to carry out the terms of your Will.
- To protect unmarried partners and make sure they inherit what you intend them to.
- To appoint guardians for your children if they are under 18, until they come of age.
- To protect your beneficiaries from paying unnecessary inheritance tax.
- To specify gifts to family members, friends or charities.
- To ensure that your pets will be rehomed as you would wish.
- To provide for a disabled child or family member from your estate.
- To avoid a lengthy probate process.
Here are a few real life examples of where a professional Will writer could have protected the individuals involved:
The case of Mr and Mrs A and their children
Mr and Mrs A have worked hard and saved all their lives. Their major asset is the family home, which they wish to leave to their children. Mr A dies, leaving his share of the property to Mrs A. Mrs A subsequently needs to go into care and is ‘means tested’ to assess if she can pay for her own care. As the property is now entirely hers, it could potentially be sold to meet her care costs.
This scenario can be avoided in two ways. Firstly, Mr and Mrs A could change the way in which they own the matrimonial home from ‘joint tenants’ to ‘tenants in common’ in equal shares. This means when one dies, their half of the house goes into their estate rather than automatically transferring to their spouse. Secondly, they could include a clause in each Will leaving their share of the property ‘in trust’ for their children (rather than their spouse) whilst allowing the surviving spouse to live in the matrimonial home for the remainder of their life. This means that the share of the property 'in trust' is not included in the means testing for any care that might be needed.
The case of Mr X and his second wife
Mr X, a widower with two children, marries Mrs Y, a divorcee with two children of her own. If either Mr X or Mrs Y were to die leaving everything to their spouse, the surviving spouse could rewrite their Will and disinherit the deceased spouse’s children.
This scenario can be avoided in two ways. Firstly, Mr X and Mrs Y could purchase the matrimonial property in shares, as tenants in common. This means when one dies, their half of the house goes into their estate rather than automatically transferring to their spouse. Secondly, they could include a clause in each Will leaving each spouse’s share of the property in trust for their own children whilst allowing the surviving spouse to live in the property for the remainder of their life.