Our latest guest blog comes from Wirral-based law firm, Maxwell Hodge Solicitors with Andrea Ashton, Solicitor and Team Leader of the Wills, Probate and Lifetime Planning Team at Maxwell Hodge Solicitors discussing the importance of making a Will

Andrea Ashton

Andrea Ashton

Solicitor and Team Leader of the Wills, Probate and Lifetime Planning Team at Maxwell Hodge Solicitors

 

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A Will is one of the most important documents that a person will ever sign, yet surprisingly 2 out of 3 adults die without leaving a valid Will.  This can cause a great deal of uncertainty at what is already a very difficult and emotional time for those left behind.

When speaking to my clients about why they haven’t made a Will before now, the most common response is “never getting around to it”, followed by “I didn’t think I had much to leave” with a minority being deterred by cost.

By making a Will, you can ensure that whatever you have, no matter how much or how little is left to those you love.

Are you one of those people who have put off making a Will because you just don’t have the time?  Well here are seven reasons why you should put a little time aside to plan for the future:-

1. Having a Will provides you with the peace of mind that your assets will pass to the people of your choice whether it be family, friends or charity. If you die without leaving a Will, your estate will be dealt with under the intestacy rules which decide who will inherit from your estate.  It is possible in some circumstances that your estate may even pass to the Crown. Why let somebody else decide who should inherit your estate?

2. It is a myth that a “common law spouse” will inherit automatically from your estate. In fact, without a Will a “common law spouse” or partner will inherit nothing from your estate.  The same goes for friends and charities.

3. A Will allows you to appoint Executors of your choice. Your Executors are responsible for administering your estate, so this is your opportunity to take control and appoint a person who you trust and feel is appropriate for the job.  Maxwell Hodge can give you advice on appointing appropriate Executors.

4. If you have children, you will understand the importance of providing for them both financially and emotionally. But who would do this if you were gone?  A Will allows you to appoint Guardians to look after and care for your children on your death.  If you don’t have a Will, a Court will decide who should look after your children.  Why leave you children’s future in somebody else’s hands?  Take the time to plan for your children’s future now.

5. A Will allows you to provide for those dependants who may not be able to look after themselves. This not only includes children who are minors but also disabled beneficiaries.  By making provision in your Will, you can make sure that any disabled beneficiary is provided for without it affecting their benefit entitlement.  You can also chose and appoint Trustees who will manage the funds of a beneficiary who is unable to do this themselves.

6. Are you happy to pay inheritance tax on your estate? Making a Will can help you to plan for your future and it could reduce or eliminate a potential inheritance tax liability on your estate.  Make sure that you are leaving as much of your estate as possible to your loved ones, rather than paying more inheritance tax to the Government that is necessary.

7. If you have a complicated family structure, it is advisable for you to seek professional legal advice to make sure that you provide for your family effectively This can be particularly important for example if you are on your second marriage but have children from your previous marriage.  The Solicitors at Maxwell Hodge have a wealth of experience in Will drafting and almost anything is possible!

Some people are sadly put off by the costs of having a professional Will prepared. This is often a small price to pay for the peace of mind that this gives you in knowing that your estate will be dealt with correctly and in accordance with your own wishes.

The cost of a professional Will is relatively small in comparison to the costs incurred by your loved ones in trying to rectify a DIY Will that has gone wrong or an invalid Will prepared by somebody without any legal training or experience.

This can have devastating effects and can even result in a beneficiary losing their entitlement under your Will because of drafting errors or Wills that have not been executed correctly.  Reports show that an increase in DIY Wills has also increased the number of claims being made against estates and that they are making it easier for fraudulent Wills to be prepared.

Don’t put your family at risk; give yourself peace of mind by having your Will prepared by a qualified Solicitor.

Speak to one of the team at Maxwell Hodge for advice about preparing your Will or if you already have a Will in place, come and see us to have your Will reviewed.

We provide a friendly yet professional service and you are in safe hands, as all of our Solicitors are fully qualified and specialise in this area of work.

Home and hospital appointments are also available for those who are unable to attend the offices.

For more information or legal advice from Maxwell Hodge Solicitors please call 0151 625 9154 or visit www.maxwellhodge.co.uk.