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Making a Will is one of the most important things you will do in your lifetime. It caters for far more than just who will benefit from your belongings (your estate).

Wills

Writing a will is one of the most important things you will ever do. If you do not have a valid will, your property and belongings (your estate) will be distributed according to the Law of Intestacy. If this happens, it will be unlikely to follow your wishes, and it will prove very costly and take longer than if there were a valid will in place.

Most people assume that their spouse will get everything when they die ‘so don’t need a will’, which couldn’t be further from the truth. If a husband dies without a will for example, the remaining wife and perhaps children, cannot access his bank accounts, or savings (unless a joint signatory) until probate has been completed, which can take months without a will. This is bad enough, but if people come out of the woodwork claiming a share of the estate, it can then run into years!

Having a valid will in place provides for a number of key areas to protect both you and your family.

Children

If you have children under 18, who would care for them if something were to happen to you? Many people think that next of kin would automatically step up, but if they are too old or not physically able, the courts would rule against that eventuality. Siblings would be the next obvious choice, but they may have children of their own, and not have space to take on any more or the funds to take on such a big commitment.

Do you have step children? Under the rules of intestacy, stepchildren are not entitled to anything from your estate without a valid will being in place.

Legacies

There may be certain gifts you would like to give to particular people, such as an engagement ring to your son or daughter, or a classic car that you spent years lovingly restoring, maybe even a gift to a charity. Or you may have a family pet that you want a family member to take on and care for? These are all things to be included in your will.

Residue of your estate

The remainder of your estate is called the residue. This may be your house or houses, your cars, life insurance policies, bank accounts or investments, even the contents of your garage! Your Will is a legally binding document and stipulates where these things will go on your death, and where you ultimately do not want it to go. You can also specify an exclusion from your estate as well.

Funeral Wishes

A sobering thought in writing a will. Some simply leave the decision to the hands of the executor (the person(s) dealing with the disposal of your estate). Some may prefer to name specifics, like requesting bright colours to be worn, or certain flowers to bring or what music they would like to be played.

What happens if you already have a will?

When was the Will made? Is it still valid?

These are very important and very valid questions. Each case is different. For example, if you made a will 10 years ago, and named an executor, or beneficiary, but they have since passed away, then your will is no longer valid.

If however, you made a will, 10 years ago, and the only change is that you now have grandchildren, your will is still valid, but your grandchildren will receive nothing from your estate when you die. You can only assume that your children will pass on to your grandchildren. This can be a problem in itself. If one or both of your children are unreliable with money, or have a drug or alcohol dependency for example, or huge debts, your grandchildren are unlikely to inherit anything from your estate ultimately.

A will should be reviewed every 3 – 4 years. This does not mean that you need to make a new will every 3 – 4 years, it simply means review! You may wish to change your address, or add an executor or a wish for your funeral. These are all simple amendments, which, while necessary, will not require a new will to be made.

We, at County Financial Estates & Wills, are here to help. We have over 20 years combined experience in the legal field. As members of the Institute of Paralegals, we follow a strict code of practice that instils confidence and fortitude in our actions, and assures our customers of our levels of integrity.

We arrange to take directions for your will by visiting you at home or at work at a time convenient to you, which includes evenings and weekends. If you would like County Financial Estates & Wills to come and discuss your needs with you, please get in touch.

Writing a Will

Approximately 70% of the UK population do not currently have a valid will in place. That’s 29.5 million people!!

Don’t forget if you made a Will 10 – 15 years ago, it does not necessarily mean that it remains valid now. Things change on a yearly basis in some circumstances. Perhaps the person you named as executor has since passed away, or you might have had more children or grandchildren.

Did you know that without a valid Will in place, step-children are not entitled to inherit anything under the rules of intestacy?

Many of us have a Will on our ‘To do List’, but it is always the one item that gets left till last, or transferred from one list to the next!

Making a Will is one of the most important things you will do in your lifetime. It caters for far more than just who will benefit from your belongings (your estate).

A VALID WILL PROVIDES FOR:

EXECUTORS - Who will you trust to ensure that your beneficiaries get the items you wanted them to have or the money you may have left. Professional executors, such as banks and Solicitors charge a percentage of your entire estate to handle these duties during probate. Your family can act as executors as long as they are named in your Will, and it doesn’t have to be one sole person. It can be two or three people acting together.

GIFTS or LEGACIES – You may have specific items that you wish to leave to specific people in your Will. For example, a family heirloom, or a classic car that you lovingly restored perhaps, a diamond ring or gold watch that you only want a son or daughter to have. You might wish to leave a gift to a charity that is close to your heart, or a church, or you may simply wish to leave a cash gift to children or grandchildren.

GUARDIANSHIP – The most sobering thought in preparing a Last Will and Testament. Who would be the most suitable people to look after your children if something were to happen to you. Parents do not automatically take custody of children in these cases. It can be left to Social Services to decide, especially if your parents are elderly. Would the named guardian be able to afford to raise your children? Perhaps they have children of their own, and don’t earn a great deal? These are all questions to be asked in making a Will.

YOUR ESTATE – You have decided on your valuable items, and who will benefit from any money or gifts in the legacies section of your Will, but who will benefit from the remainder of your estate? We call this the residue of your estate. Your home, your furniture, an investment portfolio perhaps, or maybe just the balance of your bank accounts. Who will be the beneficiaries of your estate and in what share? Will they be equal shares between children, or will the grandchildren receive a share? Will nieces and nephews be included, or brothers and sisters. You must be specific.

FUNERAL WISHES – Not a thought to be considered lightly. Do you have a preference over a burial or cremation. Would you like to be buried at sea, or given a natural burial. If you would prefer to be cremated, would you like your ashes to be scattered, and if so, where?

You can decide how your funeral should be conducted. The music you would like to be played, what flowers you might like, and what clothes people should wear? You may decide that you would prefer a non-religious funeral, or a funeral celebrating your life and not your death. These can be written into your Last Will and Testament, or you can provide a letter detailing your wishes that is referred to within your Will.

These are all important decisions that you will make during your lifetime, to make things easier on those left behind.

There are many reasons that people don’t make a will. Some believe that they have nothing to leave. Others simply don’t like the idea of talking about death. If you do die without making a will, your estate will be subject to the Rules of Intestacy. These rules decide who will manage your estate, and who will benefit, which is not always the person you might have intended, as it is typically your next of kin, in what is known as a fixed order. If this happens this is a costly exercise, and wherever your estate stands, it will be considerably diminished after this occurs.

County Financial Estates & Wills are a Company based on strength, security, and integrity. We pride ourselves on our work ethic, and the value for money of our services.

What is a will?

A will is a legal document where a person, names one or more persons to manage his or her affairs and estate. In “olden” times, a Will referred to property, and a Testament referred to personal property, hence the term now used “Last Will and Testament”.

Intestate

If someone dies without making a will, they are said to have died “intestate”. If this happens, the law sets out who should deal with the deceased’s affairs and who should inherit their estate (property, personal possessions and money).

Contact Us

County Estates & Wills

Sea View

Cambrian Terrace

Saundersfoot

Pembrokeshire.

SA69 9ER

 

Tel: 01834 815062

Email: enquiries@countyestatesandwills.co.uk

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