A Will is a written document created during your lifetime which determines how any property you own or money that you have at the date of your death will be shared out. In the event that you do not have a Will the law stipulates who will receive your assets after your death and this may not be the same as your wishes.
There are very strict rules concerning the procedure around creating a Will to ensure that it is valid. This is currently being reviewed and considered by the Law Commission who has said “The law around wills should be updated and brought into the “modern world””. Consideration is being given to whether or not more modern forms of communication such as email or text message should be permitted forms of communicating your wishes in exceptional circumstances.
As the law currently stands a Will document must be in writing and signed by the person making the Will, in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the Will in the presence of the person making the Will and each other. If these steps are not followed the Will is not considered valid and your wishes may not be carried out after your death.
Many of our clients comment that had they attempted to make a Will at home, without the assistance of a solicitor, they would have encountered problems or made mistakes. Our clients also benefit from advice relating to maximising the use of their tax allowances, care home fee planning, protecting their assets for and from relatives and future generations. Unmarried couples do not have the same automatic tax reliefs and other rights as married couples, regardless of how long they have lived together, a common mistake made by our clients.
We invite you to contact our experienced Private client team to arrange an appointment to discuss making a Will.