The importance of making a Will cannot be over-emphasised. If you die without one, a set of rules known as the Intestacy Rules will apply. These dictate who caninherit your assetsand it is unlikely your assets will be distributed as you had wished. Making a Will therefore provides you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that all your wishes will be fully met and your affairs are in order.
At Owen White & Catlin, we know that the thought of making a Will can appear a little daunting or even morbid. We see it simply as good planning, similar to insuring your home and belongings, or having a life assurance policy in place. Making a Will is no different. Making a Will now does not mean that your wishes are cast in stone forever, you can make changes to it at any time in the future.
You also need to consider Inheritance Tax. If your estate is worth more than £325,000 then your beneficiaries could lose 40% of their inheritance to the Government. There are ways of minimising Inheritance Tax in your Will, which our specialists are happy to discuss with you in detail.
How do you Write a Will?
The law lays down strict rules as to how a Will must be drawn up. If a Will fails to meet any of the legal requirements, it will be declared invalid. To make a valid Will, you must be over 18 and be of “sound disposing mind” (also known as having testamentary capacity), which means you are capable of understanding the effects of drawing up a Will.
Some people use a DIY Will form or consult Will writing companies who are not legally qualified. Be aware, though, that one mistake in the wording may invalidate the whole Will. There is currently no regulatory body overseeing levels of service. Consulting with a qualified solicitor who specialises in drawing up Wills, give you the peace of mind knowing that you have had expert legal, taxation and inheritance planning advice.
There are also extremely precise requirements as to how a Will is to be executed, and where a Will is not executed correctly (even if it is only a technical breach), the Will will be declared invalid. We at Owen White & Catlin always endeavour to be present when your Will is executed (either at our offices or at your home) to ensure it is done correctly.
What Should be Included in a Will?
To save time when going to a solicitor, you should give some thought to the major points that you want included in your Will, such as:
- How much money and what property and possessions you have, for example land and properties, savings, pensions, insurance policies, bank and building society accounts and shares.
- Who you want to benefit from your Will, i.e. the people to whom you wish to leave money or possessions. These people are known as beneficiaries. You also need to consider whether you wish to leave any money to charity.
- Who should look after children or dependants.
- Who is going to sort out the estate and carry out your wishes as set out in the Will. These people are known as the Executors.
We prepare all types of Wills, both simple and complex. We have many years of experience helping people write their Wills, and are members of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and the Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). We offer an efficient, friendly and comprehensive service, which will provide you with the peace of mind you seek.
At Owen White & Catlin we strongly recommend that people know where their most up-to-date Will is kept. We are happy to store your Will at no charge. We also register the fact that you have made a Will (and details of where the original is kept) with “Certainty”, the National Wills Register.
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Contact our Wills Solicitors in London, Surrey and Middlesex
Established in 1921, Owen White & Catlin have been providing services throughout South West London, Surrey and Middlesex for many years. Our offices are staffed by teams of expert solicitors and support staff, making it easy for you to get in touch when you need us.
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