This may be the first time that you have made a Will. It may be that your current Will needs reviewing. Normally, people may choose to make a Will following a bereavement of a member of the family, a friend or loved one. Sometimes, it could be a lifestyle change such as getting married or entering into a civil partnership, bringing a baby into the world, buying a house or the onset of a serious illness.
If you die intestate (without making a Will) the people you would want most to protect, may not benefit. It can take a long time to sort out your assets.
If you do not have a will:
- Your husband/wife or civil partner may not inherit everything that you own bringing financial hardship to the surviving spouse.
- The courts may ultimately decide who looks after your children.
- If you live together but are not married, the surviving partner is not automatically entitled to benefit from everything.
- If everything you own exceeds a certain amount, then thousands of pounds of Tax will be handed over to the government, often needlessly.
- Your home could be sold to pay for your long term care.
Peace Of Mind Wills can help you through the process of drawing up your Will. This will include advice on naming executors. These are the people, usually your spouse/partner and maybe two or three other people who will look after your assets following your death. They may be asked to obtain probate, pay off your debts, pay for your funeral expenses, meet any Inheritance Tax that is due and arrange to distribute your assets according to the wishes set out in your Will.
To provide a guiding hand to the executors Peace Of Mind Wills offer practical assistance to them at a difficult time. Our Executor Help Service gives support to them in applying for probate, their legal obligations and carrying out the wishes in the Will.
An important part of the process of making a Will is notifying the people you name as executors. Once you have informed them, and with your permission, we will write to each of them to outline their duties and enable them to ask any questions they may have.
Peace Of Mind Wills can help if you decide that you would like to leave gifts to certain individuals or charities.
We will advise on suitable guardians for your children under 18 and trusts that will allow the trustees to manage any money left to very young children.
If your total assets (house, personal belongings, savings, life insurance etc) are over the Inheritance Tax threshold then Peace Of Mind Wills can advise on suitable planning to reduce or, remove any Inheritance Tax Liability. In many cases this is money that could go to your children and not the tax man.
If, like most homeowners, you own your own house with a spouse or partner as beneficial joint tenants, then even if you don’t have a Will, the surviving partner becomes the sole owner of the property on your death. This appears to be fine. However, if the surviving partner remarries and dies or goes into long term residential care then the house could be lost as an inheritance to your children.
Peace Of Mind Wills can advise on altering the ownership of the property to tenants in common to allow you the option of leaving your share of the house to your children when you die.
Another important aspect of financial planning on death is to provide for dependants, who may not be able to look after themselves (e.g. Disabled children).
Peace Of Mind Wills can advise on suitable trusts that will shelter money intended for say, a disabled child, and allow the trustees to look after their financial welfare without affecting their benefits.
Following our consultation, your legal documents will be drafted carefully and professionally. When ready, Peace Of Mind Wills revisit yourself at a convenient time to enable you to check the documents before signing them in front of suitable witnesses.
We will contact you each year on the anniversary to establish if things need changing or updating to provide Peace Of Mind that the Will is current. Failure to review a Will regularly can be as disastrous as not making one in the first place.
A Will is probably the most important document you can make. If during your lifetime, the Will gets lost or destroyed or the executors cannot find it when you die, then all the hard work put into protecting your loved ones is undone. You die as if the Will was never made.
Peace Of Mind Wills provide secure, insured storage of your legal documents. We will produce certificates of storage for your executors with details of how to obtain the Will if you die.