What will happen if I do not make a Will?

The Rules of Intestacy mean that, in a way, everyone has a Will even if they haven’t physically made one. If you do not make a Will, the authorities will distribute your assets according to the Rules of Intestacy that were created in 1925. Relying on this law rather than creating a Will has disadvantages. The law decides who benefits from your estate, not you, and as it was created almost a century ago, it doesn’t bear much relation to modern personal and family situations.

Who can make a Will?

Anyone over the age of 18 can make a Will. In special circumstances, such as being drafted in the Armed Forces, those aged below 18 can make Wills with other providers.

I am not wealthy, do I need a Will?

Yes. Anyone who owns property in their name such as a bank account, car, house, furniture or sentimental property etc. should have a Will, otherwise the Rules of Intestacy apply.

How Often Should I Review My Will?

You should review your Will at least every three to five years or sooner if your personal circumstances change. For example, if there are additions to your family, or deaths in your family, or financial changes that affect your Inheritance Tax liability.

Does Marriage, Civil Partnership Or Divorce Affect My Will?

If you marry or enter into a civil partnership after making a Will, the Will is automatically revoked unless the Will expressly states that it is made in contemplation of the marriage or civil partnership. If you get divorced after making a Will, the Will remains valid but any gifts or appointment of your former spouse will fail.

Where Should I Keep My Will?

There is no legal requirement determining where a Will should be stored but you should inform your Executors where it is. We provide a secure Will storage service at minimal cost. It is not advisable to keep a Will in a safety deposit box because after your death your executors will not be able to open that box without obtaining a court order.

How Many Executors Can I Choose?

You can have as many Executors as you like, but the Law only allows a maximum of four to act at the same time.

Can an Executor be a Beneficiary?

Yes, provided the Will contains the appropriate wording. However Executors, beneficiaries, or the spouses of Executors, beneficiaries, must not be a witness at the signing of the Will, as gifts to witnesses or their spouses will not be allowed to stand.

Who can make a Trust?

Any person who fully understands the scope and nature of their assets and actions, and who is mentally capable of making such decisions is able to set up a Trust.

If I have a Trust, do I still need to make a Will and LPA?

Yes. Anything you put into a Trust will be distributed in accordance with your wishes, and the Will distributes anything you own when you die that you haven’t put into a Trust. An LPA document enables your chosen people (Attorneys) to manage assets you didn’t put into the Trust while you are alive, if you are unable to deal with them yourself following accident, injury or disease. LPA’s are optional but highly recommended as part of your wider estate planning.

If my house is in a Trust, and I wish to sell and purchase another, what happens?

If you wish to move home after placing the house into a Family Trust you can do so. The Trustees would sign the paperwork, but there are no restrictions on you. Any surplus cash is still protected by the Trust and will simply be added to any other savings and invested by the Trustees. A normal conveyancing fee would apply.

What if some of the savings within the Trust are needed?

Simply ask the Trustees for a discretionary transfer of funds from the Trust back into your name if and when this is required. If you have an existing project in mind, funds for this should be set aside outside of the Trust.

Do I need a Will if I have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

An LPA is a completely separate document to the Will – It is possible to have a LPA written without a Will, although this is not common practice.

Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Everyone who owns assets should consider having a Lasting Power of Attorney written. Homeowners are especially vulnerable should a co-owner become incapacitated. Each owner must have capacity and be able to sign documentation in relation to it (sale of house, re-mortgaging etc.) otherwise nothing can be done. Like an insurance policy; better to have one and not need it than the other way around.

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