A Will is the first line of defence in protecting your estate. It is a document that states your wishes regarding how you would like your estate to be distributed once you have passed on. The Will holds a great deal of power over your estate and therefor it is important that you get it right. There are many different types of Wills and not all Wills are the same. The type of Will you will want, depend on how you would like your estate to be distributed.
There are many individuals and companies who offer free Wills, cheap Wills or ‘write your own Will’ packages. But these may not fully protect your estate and, in some cases, they may be classed as invalid, which will leave your estate open to attack. Therefore, it is important that you make sure you have a valid legal Will in place.
Wills now often have trusts attached to them, or have a trust within them, to protect your estate. This is worth exploring as nowadays estates are often of much higher value than they were in the past, so it has become even more important to have the right type of Will in place to protect your legacy.
Make sure your loved ones are not at risk of becoming disinherited due to cohabiting, remarriage or a complex family situation. A trust can help you with inheritance tax (IHT) relief and other benefits by taking the right steps to safeguard your estate.
One of the most important aspects of a Will is to appoint people to handle your affairs (Executors) after you pass. These individuals have the legal power to execute your wishes and see your wishes through, the way you intended. They will be responsible for carrying out certain duties after your death. This is especially important if there is anyone to whom you wish to leave anything specific or if there are any children under the age of 18 who will benefit from your estate.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that declares what you would like to happen after you pass.
Is a Will legally valid?
Yes, a Will is legally valid if it has been executed correctly.
How often should I review my Will?
We advise that a Will should be reviewed every five years, or after any major incident in your life such as a birth of a new member of the family or changes in your financial situation.
Is my Will still valid after my last marriage?
Divorce does not completely revoke a Will but only causes a gift to the former spouse to lapse. Whilst this is often what is wanted, it may not be desired in every case. An appointment of the former spouse as Executor is also automatically cancelled.
Can I take someone out of my Will after writing them in?
Yes, you can make changes to your Will after you have written it. This is called a codicil if you would like to make a slight alteration to the will. But if you’re making considerable changes to the Will, we advise you write a new one as this keeps the Will from having ‘cracks’ and becoming attackable to people trying to venerable (is ‘venerable’ the right word here? If not, what is?) your estate.
Can someone else alter my Will after I die?
Your Executor can make amendments to your Will two years after you pass away. But all Beneficiaries of the Will must agree before any changes can be made.
Who will execute my Will?
Whoever you choose to be the Executor. This can be a close personal friend, family member or a professional Executor. Please find more information about the duties responsibility’s and roles of an Executor under the Wills section. the heading for this section is: ‘What is an executor and what is there roles.’
What makes a Will valid?
To make a valid Will, you will need to be over the age of 18, be of sound mind and you can’t be making the Will under duress. It needs to be signed, dated and witnessed by two independent people who are not going to benefit from the Will.
What should I do with my old Will?
You will need to destroy your old Will once you have written the new Will. This is very important because the old one will no longer be valid. Having more than one Will could cause confusion.
Where should I store my Will?
You should store your Will in a safe and secure place. We advise keeping it in a secure facility. Here at LR we have access to a controlled offsite secure access facility, where you can also keep all of your other important documents, such as your Lasting Power of Attorney, deeds to your home and other paperwork that you need to be protected.
Who should I tell about my Will?
Only those who need to know about your Will – close members of family and those who will inherit from your estate, as well as your Estate Planner, Financial Adviser, Accountant or Solicitor.
If I put my Will into storage who will be able to access it?
Only the people to whom you give access. If you have not allowed a person access then they will not be allowed to access your Will and legal documents.
When can a Will be contested?
A Will can be contested by anyone at any time. If someone contests your Will it is because they feel that they hold more of a right on your estate then you have deemed. This is why it is important to have a professional to look over or write your Will. Without having the correct evidence to back up your Will and explain your reasoning, it can be contested. Once you pass on you will no longer be able to explain your reasoning.
How many people should witness my Will?
You will need two independent people to witness your Will. They must be over 18 and must not be people who will benefit from your Will. You cannot use a partner or Beneficiary.
When should I write my first Will?
You should write a Will once you reach the age of 18. You should change your Will every time your circumstances change – for instance, if there is an alteration in your financial circumstances, or there is a new birth in the family.