It has been estimated that as many as seven out of 10 people die without having made a Will. If you have not made a Will, then you lose the right to choose what happens to your money or possessions after you die. Instead, everything you own will be divided according to a complex set of fixed rules known as the intestacy rules (“intestacy” being when a person dies without a Will).
These rules do not always direct monies as you might expect. For example:-
•Without a Will, a surviving husband or wife is not automatically entitled to all the estate of the person who has died. Depending on the circumstances, this can lead to the forced sale of the family home causing much distress at what will already be a very difficult and emotional time.
•If you live with a partner but are unmarried, the survivor on death has no automatic entitlement to anything. They may have a right to make a claim through the Courts, but again this would be a difficult and traumatic process, something easily avoided by having a Will in place.
By having a Will prepared, you are able to take control of what happens to your assets after your death:-
• You can appoint people to be the Executors responsible for administering your affairs after your death;
• You can appoint guardians to bring up young children;
• You can appoint Trustees to manage monies for children until they are old enough to have it for themselves;
• You can set up Trusts to protect vulnerable or naive individuals;
• You can decide who receives what of your assets and when, be that family, friends or charities;
• You can have your Will drafted to take advantage of Inheritance Tax rules, with the aim of reducing the tax payable after your death;
• Above all, perhaps, you can reduce the stress and trauma for your loved ones of trying to guess what you would have wanted to happen.
A Will is not something you should simply write and then forget about. It needs to be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it still works for your personal circumstances as life changes. If you marry, or get divorced, you should always seek legal advice on the effects upon any Will you have written.
At Wannops, we have a dedicated team of expert solicitors who will explain the process for you without using complex legal jargon. We will discuss all your options with you, and make sure you fully understand what we are doing; we will draw up draft Wills for you, send them to you and, only when you are happy with everything, arrange for you to sign an original Will which we can then store for you for free in our strong-room.
Our solicitors are based in our main offices in Worthing, Chichester and Bognor Regis from where we provide our wills service; however, we are quite happy to visit you at home or elsewhere as necessary. Many people put off having a Will drafted as they are nervous of the complexities involved, but you do not need to be. We will guide you carefully through the whole process. Our clients are frequently surprised at how easy and painless this can it fact turn out to be.
A Will is such an important document that it is not something you should consider doing yourself. Inevitably, if there are mistakes, they are by nature only discovered after your death by when it is too late to solve them easily. If you draw up your own Will the main danger is that you may unwittingly use language that may lead to a misinterpretation of your intentions. This can cause more problems than having no Will at all. Some banks offer a service to prepare your Will, usually on condition that it is appointed as the Executors; their fees for acting as Executors are usually much higher than those of a solicitor.
Please contact one of our legal advisors listed on the right hand side of this page for further information and guidance about drawing up a Will.