Wills, Living Wills & Detailed InformationMaking plans for the eventuality of your death is prudent, not morbid

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Are you thinking of making a Will? It is very important that you think carefully about what you are going to put in your will. To ensure that your will cannot be disputed on your death, we would like to remind you that you need to include the following:

  1. Details of your Executors (Executors are people who ensure that upon your death the contents of your will are carried out in accordance with your wishes). You need to consider who your Executors are going to be. Have you asked them whether they are willing to act for you, and are they likely to survive you?
  2. Who are your beneficiaries? If they are under the age of 18 is it your intention to give your executors power to release money to them when they reach a specific age i.e. 18, or 21 etc. Divorce or marriage. Are either of these anticipated for you or your beneficiaries?
  3. If you have children have you considered who would look after them in the event that you and your partner died? Have you chosen a Guardian who has sufficient financial means to look after your child/children and what will you leave them in your Will to compensate for their care?
  4. Do you have any existing trusts which might affect inheritance tax? Would it be wise to create a trust through your will?
  5. Have you made any gifts in your lifetime which may qualify as potentially exempt transfers?
  6. If your estate is worth more than £325,000 it will incur Inheritance tax. Is there any way to avoid or reduce the charge to inheritance tax?
  7. Is there anybody who may claim against the estate in the event of your leaving them out of your Will. You may wish to provide an explanation as to why they are excluded.
  8. Are there specific items (i.e. your mother's wedding ring) that you want leave to a particular person to keep in the family?
  9. Do you want to leave a specific sum of money to a particular person or persons or charity?
  10. After all gifts and sums of money have been dealt with, who do you want to leave the residue of your estate to?
  11. Do you want to be buried, cremated, or do you want to leave your body for medical research?
  12. If you have a pet have you considered what will happen to that pet if you die?

It is practical to ensure that your Will is in a clear and understandable format.

  1. You need to start your Will by stating your full name and address to ensure that there is no confusion. Please include all names that you are known by i.e. If everyone knows you as Mickey but your birth certificate states your name is Reginald you should ensure that you use the following wording, "I, Reginald Smith, also known as Mickey Smith....." You should also state your date of birth.
  2. You should always revoke any earlier Wills in order to avoid confusion. Always destroy an earlier Will when making a new Will.
  3. Always appoint at least two Executors, so that if one dies the other will still be able to carry out your wishes. You may wish to consider the possibility of naming two other Executors just in case both your executors die or are incapable of acting on your behalf. It is practical to choose Executors who are younger than you.
  4. In the event that you decide to create a trust for your children who are under the age of 18, it is usual for your Executors to also act as your Trustees.
  5. If you are appointing guardians for young children you will need to provide details of their names and addresses and make sure that you have made financial provisions so that your appointed Guardians are able to cover the costs of looking after your children.
  6. If you are going to give away particular gifts, describe the items clearly and provide full details of the name and address of the person to whom you are gifting the item.
  7. If you are gifting a legacy or legacies please ensure that you always state the amount you are gifting and state the name and address of the beneficiary. In the event that your beneficary/beneficaries die before you the legacy will lapse unless the beneficiary is your child in which case the share that would have gone to your child will go to their child/children (your grand children).

It is essential that:

  1. A Will must be written in ink or typed.
  2. The Will must be signed by the testator.
  3. The testator must sign the Will in such a way as to make it absolutely clear that the intention was to give effect to the Will. It is therefore important it should be signed at the end of the writing on the final page.
  4. The signature must be witnessed in the presence of two witnesses who are present at the same time as the testator signs the will, and who must then attest and sign the Will themselves in the presence of the testator. It is advisable for the witnesses to also sign at the bottom of each page of the Will.
  1. In order to ensure that a Will is valid, a testator must be over 18 unless a member of the armed services.
  2. The person making the Will must be of sound mind and have a complete understanding of the effect of the Will.
  3. A witness may not be a beneficiary under the Will.
  4. The Will should contain an attestation clause (this certifies that the will is legally witnessed). If it does not it will be considered invalid. In this case if the witnesses are still alive they will be asked on your death to sign an affidavit confirming that they were both present together when the Will was signed. If unfortunately either of them is dead or cannot be located your Will may be considered to be invalid. It is therefore very important to ensure that the attestation clause is attached properly and it should read and signed by the testator in our presence and attested by us in the presence of the testator and each other.
  5. If a testator is blind, the attestation clause will state that the Will was read to him, and that having confirmed that he understood it, he signed it, or alternatively it was signed on his behalf.
  6. You need to be aware that a Will is revoked by marriage and it is therefore advisable to make a new Will once you marry. If you make a Will prior to your getting married you must ensure that you state within the Will that it is made in comtemplation of the marriage.
  7. In the event that you get divorced, your former husband/wife will be regarded as having died on the date that the Decree Absolute is granted and they will lose any benefit under the Will, however they may still be entitled to make a claim against the estate.

We can help you by checking and preparing your Wills.

Living Wills/Advanced Statements.

A Living Will allows you to record what you would like to happen regarding any future medical care or treatments that you may receive in the event that you cannot communicate those wishes at the time.

A Living Will only deals with your wishes regarding medical treatment when you are alive. You should ensure that a Will is also written to handle your affairs in the event of your death.

A Living Will includes legally binding wishes, such as refusing specific types of treatment, and wishes which are not legally binding, such as the type of care you would like to receive.

For more details please go to our Living Wills/Advanced Statements page

Our standard costs are as follows:

A Basic Will

Mirror Wills

A Property Protection Will

An Interest In Possession Trust Will

A Discretionary Trust Will

A Property & Financial Affairs LPA

A Health & Welfare LPA

A Living Will

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