What is a Will?
Your Will is simply a legal document that makes your wishes quite clear, as to what you would like to happen to your money and property after your death.
Why make a Will?
A lot of people think that they do not have anything to leave, so what is the point of making a Will?
If you can answer yes, to any of the following questions then you do need to make a Will
Are you a home owner or own a share in a property?
Are you married or in a registered civil partnership?
Do you have children?
Are you cohabiting with your partner to whom you wish to leave something?
Have you recently separated from your spouse/civil partner?
Do you have any death in service or lump sum entitlements that may pay into your estate?
Have you remarried and want to make provision for your extended family?
This is not an exhaustive list and there are many other reasons why you should make a Will.
Making a Will can put your mind at rest, ensuring that your hard-earned assets are dealt with according to your wishes. If you die intestate, without a Will, your assets will be distributed by set rules which may or may not reflect your wishes. For instance, unmarried partners and step children are not legally able to benefit from an estate without a Will. There are also restrictions on how much a surviving spouse can inherit.
A Will can also be a useful mechanism for tax planning and protecting your wealth for your family members.
Importantly, having a Will makes it easy for your relatives to deal with your estate in that difficult time after a death.
To make sure that your Will reflects your wishes correctly and can be executed without difficulties, it is always advisable to seek legal advice when drawing up a Will.
Glazer Delmar can help and advise you on all aspects of your Will. Our considerable experience in this area means that we can offer sympathetic advice and flexible solutions that will be relevant to your individual circumstances.
What can I include in my Will?
It’s your Will and it must reflect your wishes in the way that you want. It can be as straight forward or as detailed you require.
We are here to help, advise and ensure it is just as you would like it.
Here are just some of the things that you can specify in your Will
Name relatives, friends or professionals who you trust, as executors, to administer your estate after your death, according to the terms of your Will.
Appoint someone to be a guardian or your children.
Provide for your family just as you would like to.
Leave treasured possessions or other assets, including pets, to people who you know would love and care for them.
Give money to charities, your place of worship or to friends.
Make provision for your partner if you are unmarried.
Give someone the right to live in your home for a certain time after your death.
State your funeral wishes
Create trusts which specify what certain sums must be spent on (e.g. a child’s education).
Minimise possible liability of your estate to inheritance tax.
All Wills should be reviewed at least once every 5 years or when your circumstances change. Please note that a marriage automatically revokes an existing Will unless the Will has been drafted in contemplation of that happy event.
What about homemade Wills?
There are numerous DIY or homemade Wills on offer, but we strongly recommend that you seek legal advice before making a Will. A homemade Will or a Will made on-line can lead to horrendous problems as they have not been drafted by a legally trained person.
What is a Codicil?
A Codicil is a legal document which amends or changes your Will. It is read or presented alongside the existing Will.
Why make a Codicil?
adding a Codicil is an easier (and cheaper) way of changing something in your existing Will without having to make a complete new Will. It is useful if you want to make small changes. If you want to change a substantial number of things in your Will, or you want to change the main gift, then we would suggest that you do make a new Will.
What can I put in a Codicil?
A Codicil would be useful if any of the following small changes apply
You wish to change an executor (someone previously appointed may have died, moved abroad or may simply be unsuitable now).
You wish to add in the appointment of a guardian (because you now have a child or children and did not when you made your original Will).
You wish to add in a small cash gift to one or more people.
You wish to take out one clause of your existing Will.
Living Wills/Advance Decisions
What is a Living Will
A Living Will is a document which allows you to express in writing the type of medical treatment you would want to receive, if any, if you are unable to communicate this information or have lost the mental capacity to do so.
It may also be referred to as an Advance Decision as it is a means of setting out your wishes in advance of such a medical situation arising.
Why make a Living Will?
An Advance Decision to refuse treatment allows people to set out what types of treatment they would not want to have, should they lack capacity to decide this for themselves in the future. It can be about any treatment they do not want, even if the refusal may result in their death.
If a person has made an Advance Decision refusing a medical treatment, and that Advance Decision is valid and applicable, then the decision should be followed, and treatment should not be provided.
This is a complex area and if you need more detail we should be pleased to advise you further.
What can I include in an Advance Decision?
This is a very personal document relating to your own medical situation and preferences. It should ideally be granted in consultation with your doctor.
What is a Statutory Wil?
This is a Will which is made on behalf of someone who no longer has the mental capacity to make a Will themselves. Its purpose is to protect their interests and is done by way of application to the Court of Protection.
Why make a Statutory Will?
It may be desirable for someone to make a Statutory Will for any of the reasons outlined in our Wills overview.
It may also be necessary to make amendments to the existing Will of someone who has now lost capacity to do so.
Some examples of when this may be appropriate are
If the executors appointed in an existing Will have died or lost mental capacity themselves.
If it would be possible to save money in the estate through tax planning.
If further gifts should be included in the Will.
If beneficiaries need to be removed from a Will.
If you would like to talk to us about any aspect of drawing up a Will, please get in touch.
Call 020 8299 0021 or email email@example.com