What is a Will?
A Will is a document which allows you to decide what happens to your property, possessions and money (usually referred to as your estate) and who will look after your minor children after your death. Creating a Will gives you peace of mind, ensures that your estate can be administered much more easily by your executors and alleviates stress for your loved ones.
What happens if you die without a Will?
The Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) run an awareness campaign each year which highlights the importance of having an up to date Will to ensure your wishes are carried out when you die. Without one in place clients have no control over what happens to their assets. There is a set of guidance defined by the law which states how your estate will be shared out. This may not be the way you want to distribute your assets. You may have separated from a spouse, lost contact with close relatives or simply want to divide your assets in a specific way. Lots of parents also have no legal guardian in pace for their minor children. Without a Will in place this may be decided by the courts and social services.
By making a Will, you can decide exactly what should happen to your estate and who should look after your children in the event of your death.
Using a Will Writer or a Solicitor
Homemade Wills or the use of a Will writer could be used in the simplest of cases where there is no tax payable and no property however there are a number of reasons why this is not a good idea and just one mistake or omission, no matter how small, may invalidate the entire document. Where a Will is found to be invalid your wishes will be disregarded and your estate will be shared out in accordance with the law. Let’s look at the pit falls and benefits of using a will writer or a solicitor:
- Will Writers may offer you an unusually low price for the cost of a will. The intention of your will may be very simple, but the legal formalities and language required are complicated and must be strictly followed. Many words and terms have specific meanings in law, which are different from their everyday use. Often Will Writers have only completed a few hours training and may not be able to advise fully on complex matters such as trusts, tax planning or tax allowances during your lifetime which effect your estate on death.
- Solicitors are professionally qualified and have undertaken years of training to be able to give complex advice surrounding all the decision making and difficulties of estate planning. They are also able to advise regarding further matters which may arise during detailed questioning.
- There is no industry wide regulation for Will Writers and there are few safeguards in place if things go wrong. Dealing with misunderstandings and disputes after your death could result in considerable legal costs, which will reduce the amount of money in your estate.
- On comparison, Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), supervised by the Law Society and often accredited by reputable professional bodies such as Lexcel, Solicitors for the Elderly, WIQS and the internationally renowned Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP) providing you with the utmost protection and safeguarding. Furthermore, all law firms have professional indemnity insurance to protect you in the event of an error.
- If a Will Writer goes out of business this could cause potential problems if you had a will stored with them. Whereas, solicitors usually offer a free secure storage option, and should they go out of business all documents are taken and stored securely by the SRA, giving you peace of mind.
Why speak to our experts at Davisons Law?
- We put our clients at the heart of everything we do, and our experts pride themselves on being able to simplify the legal issue no matter how straightforward or complex. Our aim is to offer clear, practical legal advice in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for you and ensure that your estate is protected before you die.
- We will provide independent and confidential advice in your best interests. We will endeavour to always communicate in simple understandable language, and we will explain any necessary legal terminology.
- Davison’s have specialist lawyers who are members of the Solicitors for the Elderly. Members have a wealth of experience and training which helps put people at ease when dealing with complex, life changing issues such as creating a Will.
- Once you have completed your will you have already taken the first step to certainty and will have limited any future stress that may arise from your death.
- Here at Davisons Law, we will work with you to create the right Will for you. Moving you forward.