Making a Will
Here at Pennine Law, we understand how easy it is to put off making a Will. However, we also know the consequences of failing to make a Will before it is too late.
Writing a Will is the only way of being sure that your wishes are carried out when you die, no matter how close you are with your family. Your Will contains who you nominate to deal with the distribution of your estate, as Executors, and also the way you want your estate to be distributed.
Having a well written Will is essential in avoiding the law having to intervene, as without one you risk dying intestate. For peace of mind, you are urged to make a Will as soon as possible.
Pennine Law are experts in writing Wills, particularly when sharing a property with someone who is not your husband, wife or partner. If your major asset is a business it is vital you consult us for advice.
The importance of making a Will cannot be overstressed. Each Will is tailor-made; taking into account your personal circumstances, possible tax implications, and inheritance tax.
You will need to decide who the beneficiaries of your estate will be and who should look after any children under the age of 18. You will also have to decide who will be given the job of being an executor of your Will. Executors have a huge responsibility and Pennine Law are a very reliable option.
Making a Will can also help avoid inheritance tax. Pennine Law will help you reduce or avoid inheritance tax liability, which in turn could avoid surviving partners being forced to sell off their assets to pay the tax off.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can make a Will?
Everyone over 18, whether single, married divorced or living with a partner, should make a Will
What is an Executor?
An Executor is responsible for the distribution of someone’s estate, in accordance to their Will, and winding up their affairs.
What is a Beneficiary?
An individual or organization (e.g. a charity) who is left something in a Will, therefore ‘benefits’ from the estate. An Executor can be a beneficiary but they must not witness a Will or the gift will fail.
Can you change a Will?
You should review your Will regularly, especially after any life-changing events, as your means and wishes may change over time. It is also worth noting that marriage makes any existing Will made previously invalid.
What is a Codicil?
If you need to make a minor change to an existing Will, this is known as a Codicil and will be added to your document.
It is recommended to only use a Codicil for small and straightforward changes, to make sure administration is not made complicated. For any large changes, it is advised you write a new Will and revoke the old one.
Why should I use a solicitor?
Drawing up a Will can be very complicated, and requires thorough knowledge of the law relating to property, tax, families and importantly inheritance tax. Homemade Wills can cause many problems if not done properly.
Solicitors very often become involved in sorting out problems where people haven't made a Will or had one drawn up badly. The cost of making a Will is a lot cheaper than having to go through the courts to sort things out or having to prove a badly drawn up 'homemade Will'.
Do I need a Will if I’m married?
Without a Will, it cannot be guaranteed your partner will inherit the whole of your estate. Also, unmarried couples are not recognised by the Law, therefore do not automatically inherit from each other or become Executors without a Will.
What is a Trust?
A Trust is an arrangement you can make to set aside assets which people only receive, or benefit from, under specific circumstances, such as reaching a certain age. Trusts may also be used to protect the value of possessions or investments.
What is a Trustee?
The person who looks after part of your estate which you have left in a continuing Trust.
Why might you set up a Trust?
- For children too young to inherit
- To ensure a current dependent is provided for should they be handicapped or need special care, and are incapable of looking after their affairs after your death
- To ensure your affairs are taken care of if you lose mental capacity and avoid government agencies taking over your assets
What different types of Trusts can be set up?
Trusts for Minors
You can leave assets in trust for children who are too young. This type of trust may be created for the benefit of children who are too young to own assets themselves.
Life Interest Trusts
A Lifetime Interest Trust can protect part of your home from residential care home fees. This type of Trust is often used in Wills where the person making the Will wishes to provide for a spouse of a second marriage to receive income from an asset or property whilst preserving the actual asset or property for the benefit of someone else at a later date. The second spouse would then be able to remain living in the home on the basis that the house is passed to the children of the first marriage on the death of the second spouse.
If you do not know what the future needs of your family members may be, you can create a Discretionary Trust and delegate a Trustee to have maximum flexibility for decisions to be made at a later date. This type of trust is also beneficial when a beneficiary may not be able to manage their own financial affairs.