25 January 2023 by

Do I really need a Will?

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the thought of tidying up our affairs.  As part of this, making a Will is often last on the list. It is often only when we reach a later stage in life or when someone experiences or witnesses the process of administering an estate, that we decide to deal with our own affairs.

In fact, your Will should actually be given regular thought to ensure that your wishes are recorded and accurately represent your current circumstances. If you die without a Will, the law dictates how everything you leave behind is to be distributed and this may not be what you want to happen. Making a Will is therefore the only way to ensure your wishes will be carried out as you intended.

Use a solicitor to ensure your Will is legally valid

Your Will does not need to prepared by a solicitor for it to be valid. However, it must meet specific requirements in order to be legally binding. The first reason to make a Will with a Solicitor is therefore to ensure it meets these requirements.

Even if your Will is legally valid, it may not accurately reflect your wishes. Mistakes, flaws and ambiguous clauses can often lead to confusion over wishes and cause problems in giving effect to them. If there is a problem in reading your Will, your wishes may be interpreted in a way which does not reflect your actual intention. Often, further expert legal advice will be required to resolve the problems, which in turn gives rise to substantial legal costs and reduces the value of the estate.

You may think that you have correctly included a gift to a family member, friend or charity but, if the wording is slightly ambiguous or fails to account for any aspect which is crucial to making the gift, your estate may encounter high costs in ensuring the gift takes effect or the gift may fail.

Using a solicitor to make your Will not only allows you to ensure that your Will is legally valid and clear but it also means that you will receive the correct, tailored advice for your individual assets and circumstances. Some scenarios where individuals particularly require individual expert advice include:

  • Owning assets abroad.
  • Living abroad or having previously lived abroad for a period time.
  • Having minor children.
  • Having vulnerable beneficiaries.
  • Owning digital assets.
  • Owning or having an interest in a business.
  • Wishing to ensure that certain family members are excluded from your Will.
  • Getting married or entering into a civil partnership.
  • Getting divorced or your civil partnership being dissolved.

We always discuss the individual circumstances of our clients with them in detail to ensure that we are tailoring our advice correctly.

Review your Will regularly

Once your Will has been prepared and validly executed, you should review your Will every 3-5 years to ensure that it reflects your current circumstances, assets and wishes. If your personal or financial circumstances change at any point, you should immediately consider reviewing your Will.

If you would like to create a new Will or update an existing one, please contact our Wealth and Estate Planning team.

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