Making a Will – the Solicitor’s FAQ

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What could happen to your estate if you die without a valid Will in place?

If you die without a valid Will then a set of rules called the ‘Intestacy’ rules determine how the estate will be distributed between blood relatives.

In limited circumstances, the rules of intestacy can suit the family of the deceased. However, there are a lot of circumstances whereby the intestacy rules are not suitable.

If you are not in a civil partnership or married then a ‘partner’ does not receive any of your estate. And if your estate is worth £270,000 or less your spouse or civil partner will receive everything – leaving nothing for children from a previous relationship. Your estate may even pass to unknown family members.

The intestacy rules also ignore the distribution of any personal items and charities that the deceased may have supported. Without a Will you haven’t appointed executors to administer your estate which can also cause more work and delay.

What are the risks of using a DIY Wills kit or an unregulated service?

You shouldn’t use an unregulated service to manage one of the most important documents you’ll need. People are often tempted by low fees (but do. always watch out for hidden costs). If Solicitors fees are your concern there are schemes that we can utilise to assist with the cost of a Will.

DIY Will kits do not provide you with the personal guidance that you need to make sure that your Will is clear and deals with all eventualities. Solicitors are experienced in dealing with all circumstances and can therefore tailor your Will specifically to your own needs. They are also trained on the legal intricacies that will determine the best way of distributing your estate regarding inheritance tax planning.

Solicitors also have insurance so that if Will instructions are not interpreted correctly then beneficiaries have some recompense. Unregulated services and DIY kit companies do not have such assurances.

Is it important for everyone, no matter their age, to consider making or updating their Will?

Everyone should have a Will and keep it updated: we do not know what may happen today, tomorrow. Making or updating a Will ensures your wishes are clear and comprehensive, giving you piece of mind.

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