Wills

Overview

Your will lets you decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death.

 

If you make a will you can also make sure you don’t pay more Inheritance Tax than you need to.

 

You can write your will yourself, but most people use the services of either a solicitor or a professional estate planning firm like Castle Estate Solutions, to ensure the will is legal and properly executed - you need to get your will formally witnessed and signed to make it legally valid.

 

If you want to update your will, you need to make an official alteration (called a ‘codicil’) or make a new will.

 

If you die without a will, the law says who gets what – what you would have wanted is irrelevant in this process. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have a valid will in place.

The law applicable to those who die without leaving a valid will is called the Law of Intestacy (the deceased person is said to be “intestate”). If there are no surviving relatives who can inherit under the rules of intestacy, the estate passes to the Crown.

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Your will should set out:

  • whom you want to benefit from your will;

  • who should look after any children under 18;

  • who is going to sort out your estate and carry out your wishes after your death (your executor or executors);

  • what happens if the people you want to benefit die before you do.

 

Special care in drafting may be needed if:

  • you share a property with someone who is not your husband, wife or civil partner;

  • you want to leave money or property to a dependant who cannot care for themselves, a child for example;

  • you have several family members who may make a claim on your will, such as a second spouse or children from another marriage;

  • your permanent home is outside the UK;

  • you have property overseas;

  • you have a business.

 

Making sure your will is legally valid.

For your will to be legally valid, you must:

  • be 18 or over;

  • make it voluntarily;

  • be of sound mind;

  • make it in writing;

  • sign it in the presence of 2 witnesses who are both over 18;

  • have it signed by your 2 witnesses, in your presence;

If you make any changes to your will you must follow the same signing and witnessing process.

VERY IMPORTANT – BUT OFTEN FORGOTTEN OR NOT KNOWN!

You cannot leave your witnesses (or their married partners) anything in your will. Your witnesses need to be independent people – friends, neighbours, workmates etc., and NOT BENEFICIARIES.

Initial consultations always free and without obligation