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The importance of making a will
December 12, 2023

The topic of wills may not be a frequent subject of dinner table conversations. However, it holds immense significance in securing your legacy and the future well-being of your loved ones.

Surprisingly, a National Will Register report reveals that less than half of UK adults have a will in place. Making a will often gets overlooked or postponed. But the consequences of not having a will can be considerable. This article delves into the importance of making a will, explores the reasons behind this critical task, and emphasises the value of seeking professional advice.

The will gap in the UK

Statistics indicate that two-fifths of UK adults have not discussed or documented their instructions for after their death. This leaves their financial and personal affairs in uncertainty.

This gap in will-making is a cause for concern. It it can lead to a host of legal and family complications.

Making a will is a responsible and caring act towards your family and loved ones. It ensures that your wishes are respected, and your assets are distributed as you see fit.

The absence of a will can result in intestacy. This is where the state determines how your estate is distributed, which may not align with your intentions.

Why making a will matters

  • Clarity and control: Creating a will allows you to have control over your assets and the legacy you leave behind. It makes your affairs easier to deal with following your death and ensures that your possessions go to the individuals or causes you choose.
  • Protection for loved ones: A well-crafted will provides financial security and stability to your family and those you wish to benefit from your estate. It can include provisions for the care of dependents, such as children, and who you’d like to look after them as well as ensuring they are well provided for.
  • Avoiding legal complications: Having a will simplifies the probate process, making it easier for your beneficiaries. It reduces the chances of disputes and legal complications among heirs.
  • Tax efficiency: A carefully planned can help manage any potential inheritance tax liabilities. Minimising the inheritance tax that may be owed on your estate, preserves more of your assets for your loved ones.
  • Charitable giving: If you wish to leave a legacy by supporting a charitable cause, a will allows you to do so by specifying the donations or bequests you’d like to make.
  • Specific gifting: allows you to leave particular items or sums of money to those who you want to.
  • Protective your family home: A Protective Property Trust can safeguard property for your loved ones, especially in the context of long-term care fees or unforeseen circumstances.
  • Appointed estate matters executor: Deciding who you want to manage your estate matters.
  • Specify your funeral wishes: This helps to avoid any worry about getting the funeral right for your family and friends at a difficult time.

The value of professional guidance

While writing a will may seem straightforward, there is much more to consider than meets the eye.

Here are five reasons to consider using a solicitor to write your will:

  • Legal expertise: Solicitors have the knowledge and experience to ensure your will is legally sound and meets all requirements.
  • Customisation: A solicitor can tailor your will to your unique circumstances, ensuring that your specific wishes are addressed.
  • Complex assets: If you have complex financial or property arrangements, a solicitor can help navigate the intricacies to protect your interests.
  • Contingencies: Solicitors can draft provisions for various scenarios, including contingencies for beneficiaries who may pass away before you.
  • Peace of mind: Professional guidance provides reassurance that your will accurately reflects your wishes and complies with all legal regulations.

5 top tips for probate

Probate is the process of dealing with the estate of someone who has died.

Our top tips for probate include:

  1. Make sure you have a will. Do not leave it to chance.
  2. A Google search is not reliable and if you need inheritance tax advice, speak to someone who can properly advise you. A small fee at the start is better than a 40% tax bill at the end.
  3. Everyone should think about the Legal Power of Attorney (LPA). If the last 3 years have taught us anything it is to expect the unexpected.
  4. Keep records. You can make it easier for family members and executors by keeping a record of your accounts and financial details in a secure place that they know about.
  5. If you have concerns about someone’s capacity and their making decisions, act early as Deputyships are expensive and time-consuming.

Who to contact about your will

If you are considering making a will, it is highly recommended to seek professional advice.

Clients often ask us about wills. We have learnt some valuable advice and guidance regarding wills and estate planning that we are happy to share

However, it is also beneficial to reach out to a legal services provider to discuss your requirements and wishes in more detail.

Francis George Solicitor-Advocate

Many of our clients have used a local award-winning Solicitor-Advocate called Francis George Solicitor-Advocate. Whilst we cannot endorse their services and hold no relationship with them, we have heard great things about the cost-efficient family legal services they provide in Witney, Swindon, and nationwide. What’s more Francis George Solicitor-Advocate recently won Solicitor-Advocate of the Year in the Legal Excellence Award category at the Berks, Bucks & Oxfordshire Law Society 2023.

Ross Peters Director and Family and Probate Solicitor at Francis George Solicitor-Advocate says:

“Thinking of a time when you won’t be around for your loved ones is often difficult and something many of us put off until it is too late. It is important to make a will as it ensures that your money, property and possessions are left to those that you want it to go to.  If you have young children making a will also means that you can appoint Guardians to look after them. We advise that you review your will every so often to ensure that it reflects those that you want to protect in the future. It can be updated following a marriage, a new relationship and any children or grandchildren that you may have.

We can also advise on a Lasting Power of Attorney, ensuring that if you become unable to make decisions at some point in the future, a named person can make those decisions for you.

At Francis George Solicitor-Advocate we have solicitors with experience at drafting wills to accommodate your wishes and can also advise on any potential estate planning issues. Make sure you have a will in place and do not leave it to chance.”

Write your will

Creating a will is an essential step in securing the future for both you and your loved ones. It brings peace of mind and ensures that your legacy is managed according to your wishes. So, our advice is please don’t procrastinate; take the initiative to protect your assets and the well-being of those you care about by making a will.

Further useful reading

Lasting Power of Attorney – A Guide

Live-in Care Cost and Funding

Can Social Services force me into a care home?

Will social services pay for a live-in carer?

Government Resources Available to Provide Caregiver Support