The law and practice referred to in this article or webinar has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.
Life can be complicated, but writing your Will doesn’t have to be. Our team of experienced solicitors are specialists in setting up Wills for people with complex family or financial situations. We can help you understand how to best arrange your estate in order to protect your family and your wealth in the long term.
We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation with the Coronavirus pandemic, Daniel Harris, Partner in our International & Cross-Border Team, explains how we can continue to support all of our valued clients as usual, in particular with making a Will without having to leave your home.
- Why use a solicitor?
It is important to prepare a Will which best suits your personal and financial circumstances and your wishes. A properly drafted Will ensures that you have complete peace of mind for the future and that your loved ones are protected in the event of your death We recommend that you review your Will every five years or after any major change in your life such as a separation, marriage or divorce, having a child, an adjustment in your financial circumstances or moving house.
- Which type of Will do I need, and how much will it cost?
- Simple Will
As straight-forward as it sounds, this is a standard Will suitable for those who simply want to leave their estate to one or more people (or charities) with one or more substitutes, e.g. everything to your spouse and then to children. If you are a couple you can opt for a pair of Wills.
- Family Will
If you have been married more than once, this Will allows you to benefit both your spouse and your children. If you have remarried, you can make provisions in your Will for any children you have from previous relationships to ensure they receive a share of your estate whilst still providing for your spouse.
If you are concerned about future care home fees, this Will can preserve half the value of your property for your family, whilst the other half can be used to fund your care. Your spouse will have the right to occupy your property and potentially receive an income from your half of the property. They can remain living in your property after your death until they die, remarry, cohabit, or until the end of a designated time period. At the chosen time, i.e. on the second death then your share of the property can then be transferred to your chosen beneficiaries.
- Care Home Fee Protection Will
This Will can preserve up to half the value of your property for your family, whilst the other half can be used to fund your future care. Your spouse will have the right to occupy your property and potentially receive an income from your half of the property without having the right to the capital. They can remain living in your property after your death until they die, remarry, cohabit, or until the end of a designated time period. At the chosen time, i.e. on the second death then your share of the property can then be transferred to your chosen beneficiaries.
- Flexible Will
A trust, as part of a Will, means you can appoint trustees to hold property and other assets and manage them on behalf of someone else (the beneficiaries). This type of Will is particularly useful if you have young or vulnerable beneficiaries who may not be able to manage the inheritance themselves and will need guidance to manage finances in the future.
- Vulnerable Beneficiaries Will
There are special types of Wills for vulnerable beneficiaries and these are tailored to the person’s capabilities and needs. It is possible to have a Will that retains a person’s entitlements to state benefits or allow for tax breaks due to disabilities. It is also possible to allow some funds to pass regularly to someone who may be capable of managing day to day but would be overwhelmed or at risk of being pressured by others, if they were to have larger sums.
- Farming Wills
There are special tax allowances available for farms and you need specialist advice in order to pay the smallest amount of tax, so that your farm can be inherited by your loved ones rather than parts needing to be sold to pay the inheritance tax. Your farm may be part of a company or may have development potential, in these cases specialist advice is needed and you may wish to have trusts included in your Will to give flexibility and to achieve the maximum benefit from the available allowances.
- Business Owner Wills
There are special tax allowances available for trading businesses and you need specialist advice in order to pay the smallest amount of tax, so that your business can be inherited by your loved ones rather than assets needing to be sold or the business wound up to pay the inheritance tax. Your business may need to be managed by someone in the short term or you may need to ensure that any insurance policies pay out correctly to ensure that you can fully benefit from the available allowances. In these cases specialist advice is needed and you may wish to have trusts included in your Will to give flexibility and to achieve the maximum benefit from the available allowances.
- Double Trust Will
If you need a combination of a Family Will and a Flexible Will, perhaps because you have been married more than once and have young children, we can tailor your Will to protect your family in the short and long term. This allows your spouse to benefit immediately on your death whilst conserving the value of your estate for your children to benefit when they are mature enough to be able to manage the funds.
- Advice & Review Service
If you would like some initial advice about writing your Will, or you would like to review your existing Will to make sure that it reflects your current circumstances as well as recent changes to the law, we offer a fixed fee meeting with one of our specialist solicitors.
If you already have a Will and want to make some small changes then you may be able to have a Codicil prepared. If you are a couple you can opt for a pair of Codicils.
- International Wills
Our specialist International and Cross-Border team can draft a single UK Will to cover a person’s worldwide estate, or alternatively, where appropriate, draft separate wills to cover UK and overseas assets, drawing on our knowledge and contacts from around the world. Please visit our International and Cross-Border Estate Planning and Wills page for more information.