Do I need a Will?
Yes! Everyone needs a Will. If you have property or money that you want to pass on to someone in particular then you need a Will. If you have children under the age of 18, then you will want to appoint guardians, if you have pets then you will want to make provision for their care. Making a Will may seem grim, but it is a really joyful and reassuring act! You are making sure that your wishes are followed and that your loved ones are cared for.
What will happen if I haven’t made a Will?
If you die and you do not have a Will then the Intestacy Rules apply. These are the rules that decide who will inherit your property and money. It’s a one size fits all approach intended to fulfil the requirements of the average person. The problem with this approach is that one size does not fit all! For example, the Intestacy Rules do not consider your long-term partner and could result in someone inheriting whom you wouldn’t wish to.
What kind of things do I need to think about?
For most people, making a Will is a very simple process. You choose who to distribute your money and property to and how much you would like each of them to inherit. You can leave a Cash Gift or a Residuary Gift. A Cash Gift is a specified amount of money. A Residuary Gift can be anything between 1% and 100% of your possessions, which includes the cash or property that you own. You can also specify particular items, such as a piece of jewellery.
You also need to consider who will act as your executor. Your executor is someone that you can trust to make sure your wishes are carried out. This can be a friend, family member, or a professional, such as a Solicitor.
Who should I remember in my Will?
You may give your property and money to anyone you choose; family, friends, or a charity. There are certain classes of people who can contest your Will, such as estranged family members, so if you have any concerns then talk to your Solicitor. They will be able to advise you what measures you can take to ensure that your wishes are followed.
Do I need a Solicitor to make a Will?
Quite simply, no. You can buy a DIY Will Kit, but much like DIY around the house, it may be simpler and safer to consult a professional. Using a Solicitor means that you will receive advice tailored to your particular circumstances and give you peace of mind that you have all of the information you need to make your choices. It will also make it more difficult for someone to contest your Will.
If you already have a Will then you can add a codicil. This is an additional document that should be kept with, but not attached to, your existing Will. It is important not to write on or mark your Will, so simply fill out this document and store it with your Will. We always advise consulting a Solicitor, but you can print this form and take it along to your appointment.
How much does it cost?
For a Simple Will, the cost is usually between £100 and £200 for a single person or a couple. Alternatively, you could sign up for LOROS’ Free Will Writing Month! During May we team up with a number of Solicitors across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland who offer a free Will Writing Service in exchange for a donation to LOROS of £80 for a Single Will or £150 for a Joint Will. This is a great opportunity to consider leaving a gift to LOROS in your Will.
For more complicated needs then you should contact a Solicitor for advice.
How long will it take?
Not long at all. It usually takes between 2-3 weeks from taking instructions to you signing the Will. It can be done in one day, but there is often an additional fee for this.
Is my Will written in stone? Not at all. People are able to review and change their Will as often as they need. A change in financial or family circumstances often means that you will want to change your Will. You may want to include children or grandchildren or add a gift to a charity that you support, or you may buy a house and want to consider who will inherit it.
I’m worried that if I make a Will then I will jinx myself!
This is perfectly natural and something we have heard many people say. In our experience, no one in good health has died shortly after making their Will. Making a Will is a positive thing! It gives us the opportunity to care for the people we love and it is reassuring to know that we have a choice about how our cash and property will be shared.