A Will is legal document that sets out your wishes as to what should happen with your assets and who should benefit from your estate following your death.

It is always better to have a Will in place. It does not matter how much your estate is worth. By having a Will, you can ensure that your wishes are reflected when your estate is dealt with.

If you have a Will you can specify who you want to be legally responsible to deal with your estate, so that you can be sure that your estate passes to who you would like it to. In your Will you can also include your funeral wishes, make gifts of personal possessions, make cash lump sum gifts, and ultimately determine how the remainder of your estate should be divided.

If you have young children, then you can set out who you would want to look after your children whilst they are under 18. If you have a family business, you are concerned about how your estate will impact the cost of care for your surviving spouse, or if you’re concerned about your beneficiaries receiving a large inheritance, then you can include terms that cater for each of these scenarios.

If there are people that you do not want to inherit from your estate, or if you want to leave some or all of your estate to charity, then your Will deal with these wishes also.

If you die without leaving a valid Will then you are treated as having died ‘intestate’ and the ‘intestacy rules’ take place.

The intestacy rules are complicated and can result in your estate passing to people that you would not have wished to benefit. For example, your estate may pass to distant relatives who you have never met. Or you may have relatives who you have become estranged from who may also become substantial beneficiaries to your estate. The process of finding these family members can also be costly and take a long time.

Even if you have made a Will, if it has not been drafted correctly or did not account for particular events then your estate can result in a partial intestacy. In these cases, then not only can the above scenarios come into play, but it may also make your estate more complicated and difficult to deal with for your other beneficiaries.

Anyone can write a Will, including yourself at home or a non-legally qualified Will writer. You do not need to instruct a specialist private client solicitor.

However, there are risks in writing a Will at home. Your wishes may not be carried out correctly because you are not aware of the correct law or terms needed to be used. In fact, your homemade Will may actually be defective if it is missing particular terms, or it may be invalid altogether. In these situations, you may then be treated as having died intestate, or created a partial intestate.

To avoid these issues, it is recommended that you instruct a specialist private client solicitor to prepare your Will. By doing so you will have the peace of mind that your wishes are correctly reflected in your Will and that your estate passes to who you want to. You can also be assured that your Will is drafted in a tax efficient way.

If you made a valid Will many years ago then its age will not automatically make it invalid. Even if you have lost the Will as you stored the original at home, or you accidentally destroyed your Will, or you cannot recall where it is your Will remains valid.

However, if you have married or formed a civil partnership since you made your Will then it will no longer be valid. It is best to review your Will every 5 years or when there are significant changes in your life such as buying property, having children or grandchildren, or because of the death of your partner, children, or beneficiaries.

By having an up to date Will you will ensure that your current wishes are reflected.

We offer you a meeting in person with one of our specialist private client solicitors at any of our offices across Essex and London. We are also able to meet you at your home if you are unable to come to our offices for health reasons. At this meeting we will discuss your estate and discuss your wishes with you.

Before your meeting you will be sent a Will questionnaire for you to complete and to bring to your meeting. The questionnaire will help you to be better prepared for your meeting and will assist your solicitor in preparing your Will immediately after your meeting.

During your meeting and on review of your questionnaire, your solicitor will advise you about how your estate is affected by Inheritance Tax and guide you as to whether your wishes are tax efficient.

Following your meeting you will be sent a draft Will for you to review. If you need to make any amendments or include additional terms to the draft Will, your solicitor can take your instructions by telephone or email.

After you have approved the Will, you will meet your solicitor again for the Will to be signed. Once this has been completed, we will arrange for your Will be registered with The National Will Register and to store your Will at our secure storage facility at no additional cost.

You will also be sent a photocopy of your signed Will in the post and a scanned copy by email will be sent if required.

We charge a fixed fee for our Wills service. The cost of your Will service will depend on whether your wishes are simple or complex. Most people will require a simple Will.

For our simple Will service for individuals the fixed fee is £200 plus VAT. If you are preparing simple Wills as a couple, then the fixed fee is £375 plus VAT. Complex Wills are typically those that include terms that offer protection of your assets from care fees, or Wills that cater for protecting beneficiaries who are vulnerable or who have disabilities. Your solicitor will provide you with a fixed fee quote at your initial meeting for this service.

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Would you like to know more?

For help and advice, talk to a member of our team. They can advise on the best options in your matter.

Call: 01708 229 444 Email us

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