I’m just wondering if I really need a Will? Isn’t it all a bit – well, morbid?

Let me answer that by asking you a few questions:

  • Do you have children?
  • Parents, sisters or brothers?
  • Extended family, and close friends?
  • A business?

People fall out over the smallest things – such a piece of costume jewellery, or a signed print or photograph, even a book.

A Will lets you decide what happens to your property after your death. It helps your family by taking away the need for them to try to guess at what you wanted to happen – making life a little easier for them.

And, a Will can also ensure legal guardianship of your children, or even your pets.

** If you make a Will you can also make sure you don’t pay more tax than you need to – basically, Inheritance Tax is paid if a person’s estate is worth more than £325,000 when they die. There’s a useful government website that I recommend you check out, at https://www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax

What happens if I don’t have a Will?

It can get complicated – and quite messy. Basically, if you die without a legal Will, then an administrator will be appointed to administer your estate, and decide who gets what.

** There’s a simple and short quiz that gives you a quick answer to what can happen if you die intestate (without a legal Will) – such as a surviving partner who wasn’t married or in a civil partnership with the deceased having no automatic right to inherit. Take the quiz at https://www.gov.uk/inherits-someone-dies-without-will

Can I do it myself? Get one of those packages?

Well, yes, of course you can buy a DIY pack.

However, you’re making this Will to ensure your family’s future security and well-being –­ and so you can relax, knowing everything is being done properly and legally.

If you do decide to write it yourself, then make sure you get legal advice. And remember you’ll need to get your Will formally witnessed and signed (by two witnesses); it’s not legally valid otherwise.

But isn’t it expensive if you do it? What can you do that I can’t do myself?

Basically, I’ll make sure it’s legal.

For instance – did you know that if an individual (or his or her married partner) who is due to receive a gift under the Will (making that individual a beneficiary), also acts as a witness, then he or she will lose their gift? The rest of the Will remains valid.

I’ll make sure all the details are covered – even small things that can easily be missed. This can include naming beneficiaries; guardianship for children under 18 years of age, or perhaps children from another marriage; giving money or assets to someone outside your immediate family; choosing your executor – and letting someone know where you’ve kept your Will, too.

There are many things to consider – and that’s where an experienced professional comes in.

But what if I’ve already got a Will – had it done professionally about fifteen years ago. Do I really need to review it?

It’s good to review your Will every year – and, of course, in the case of any major changes, such as marriage, or if you buy or sell a business.

If you need to make a change, I’ll help you draw up the legal alteration (a codicil), or make a new Will if that’s what’s needed.