Who should make a Will?
If you want to make sure your wishes are followed on your death, you should make a Will. If you die without one, the rules of intestacy will decide; who looks after your children, who inherits your assets, and who administers your estate. This may mean your family, friends or supported charities do not get what you would have wished them to.
It is especially important to make a Will if you are cohabiting, but not married or in a civil partnership. This is because the law does not recognise your partner as having the same legal rights as spouses. A common misunderstanding is that spouses are entitled to your whole estate, this is not always the case.
Many people will leave creating a Will until they are elderly. If you loose capacity in the meantime or die in an accident it is then too late. Making a Will is especially important when you have minor or disabled children, and/or dependants.
You can make a Will from the age of 18, and we would advise reviewing this every 5 years, or after any significant event.
Not everyone’s situations are simple, sometimes complications can arise where more thought will be needed to ensure you are making the correct decisions for your loved ones.
We would advise that you get proper legal advice, and make a Will in the following circumstances:
- You financially support a person or people, who may be able to make a claim on your estate after your death. The basis for a claim is that the claimant has not been “adequately provided for”, you may think that the person is not dependent on you, but this may not always be the case.
- You live abroad or are not a British Citizen.
- You have any overseas assets. Advice will be given as to whether we can incorporate foreign assets into the Will or whether a foreign Will is needed.
- You own or have a share in a business.
- You are in a second marriage or relationship, and/or have had children with more than one partner.
Key provisions, what to think about before your appointment
- Who do you want to leave your assets to? You can leave specific legacies of personal property, demonstrative legacies of specific bank accounts or premium bonds etc… or pecuniary legacies, of specific sums of money.
- How do you want to divide property? Do you own the property in solely or with someone else? Is this ownership as joint tenants or tenants in common. Ownership under joint tenants passes by survivorship.
- Are there any conditions to be attached to these gifts?
- Consider anyone who may feel they depend on you
- Guardians, if you have children under 18.
- Specific wishes for funeral arrangements, or organ donations
- Who you would like to appoint as your executor/s. This appointment carries a long-term responsibility, and it is important to appoint someone capable of the task. You can appoint friends, family or a professional, such as a solicitor.
Signing and storing the Will
When you are happy with your Will, it is important to sign it correctly. There are strict rules affecting this procedure, and if not followed correctly, your Will will be invalid.
It is important to keep your Will in a safe and secure place. We offer to hold your Wills and important documents in our firms Deeds Store free of charge. It is always a good idea to let friends and family know where your Will is stored.
For a simple Will
Single – £200 + VAT
Mirror (joint will) – £350 + VAT
Living Will – £200 + VAT
For more complex Wills involving trusts, these are quoted dependant on the situation, but start from £400 + VAT
Sussex Law offer home visits locally for an extra one-off charge of £50 + VAT
Many people also like to create Lasting Powers of Attorney with their Wills, our fees are as follows:
For a single person For a couple
Health and Welfare only £275 + VAT Health and Welfare only £500 + VAT
Property and Financial Affairs only £275 + VAT Property and Financial Affairs only £500 + VAT
Both Types £500 + VAT Both types £950 + VAT
If you would like any more information on Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact us.
Sussex Law Solicitors, 45 Ladies Mile Road, Patcham, Brighton, BN1 8TA
Tel: 01273 561312
Sally Taylor – Chartered Legal Executive
Linda Tomsett – Legal Secretary
Jane Cole – Director – Chartered Legal Executive