Why do you need a will?
Making a will is essential because of many reasons even though you may think there is not much in terms of money or possessions. Here is why you need to make a will:
- If you pass away without a will, there are legal regulations that will dictate how your money, property or possessions will be distributed. This may not be in keeping with what you had in mind.
- Partners who don’t have the right to being a legal spouse or are registered as a civil partnership will not be the beneficiary of your inheritance. This may cause serious financial issues for the living partner.
- A will in UK also dictates how arrangements for children are done if one or both parents pass away.
- It could help reduce taxes on the inheritance if you seek legal advice in advance.
Do you need a solicitor?
A will without an attorney is absolutely legally acceptable. You can very well make a will yourself. Though, this is only acceptable in cases where things are without any complications.
Generally, it is advisable that you employ a solicitor or have them verify the contents to ensure that it says what you wish. Errors in the will can be the cause of problems after your death. Solicitor fees to sport out these problems will be much higher than having them help you draw up a will or check it.
Some common mistakes while making a will can be:
- Not being aware of the formal legalities to be followed in order to make a legally valid will.
- Failing to account for all your possessions.
- Failing to consider the possibility that a beneficiary may be dead before the person writing the will.
- Any changes to the will must be signed in the presence of witnesses to be considered valid.
- The changes in a will created by marriage, a registered civil partnership, divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership.
- Being unaware of the rules that govern how dependents can claim estate and if these provisions are not met, your will can be challenged.
When do you absolutely need a solicitor?
There are some circumstances under how to make a valid will in which you must use a will solicitor. This is when:
- Your property rights are divided amongst people who are not your spouse or civil partner.
- You want to provide for someone who is unable to care for themselves.
- There are several members of the family who can claim inheritance, like, a second wife or children from another marriage.
- You are not a permanent resident of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
- You have property overseas.
- You are part of a business.
What should be part of your will?
Here are some things you need to think about before you approach a solicitor. You need to consider:
- What is the total amount of property and possessions you have that’s going into your will?
- Who are the beneficiaries of your will? You will also need to consider if you wish to give anything to your favorite charity.
- Who should take care of any children who are not yet adults?
- Who is going to sort everything out and execute your requests stated in the will? This person is known as a will executor.
How to obtain a copy of the will when someone dies?
When someone passes away, the person handling their estate must obtain permission to do so from the Probate Service. If a will is found, the authorization is known as a grant of probate. When granted probate, the will is retained by the Probate Service and a copy is made available to the public.
How do you change a will?
It is not always necessary that you are creating a new will, there could be chances of changing your will. If you wish to change your will, you cannot do so by altering the original will after it has been signed and witnessed. Any amendments can only be carried out in the following scenarios:
- Making a codicil
- Making a new will
A codicil is an addition to a will with some amendments while the rest is left intact. For example, if you wish to add beneficiaries or change a will executor.
A codicil must be signed and witnessed the same way as your original will. You may select anyone as your new witness. Though you may make as many codicils as you please, if the changes are complicated it is advisable to create a new will.
How can one destroy a will?
Destroying a will would involve physically destroying the document by tearing it, burning it or otherwise destroying it with the intention to revoke the will. Ensure that you destroy the will or have it destroyed in your presence to refute any copies or parts of it from being reassembled. An instruction to an executor is not sufficient.
If your will is destroyed by accident, it is still considered valid. While destroying a will is final and binding, it is wise to include a clause in your new will revoking all previous wills and codicils.