Two out of three of us don’t bother to make wills. So why don’t we? After all, not making a will may mean partners or loved ones could face financial hardship at a time when they will be struggling to come to terms with their grief. We avoid it because it means coming face to face with our own mortality, something we don’t like to think about at the best of times.
Making a will is important because it
• Controls how your assets are distributed
• Can save inheritance tax
• Avoids family disputes
• Provides peace of mind
Many people don’t realize the problems they cause by failing to make a will. They may assume they have too little to leave or that their family will automatically inherit everything anyway. But that is simply not the case.
If you die intestate (without having left a will) then your estate will be divided according to intestacy laws. This means your worldly goods may not end up where you think they will, or even where you would like them to. For example, if you’re married with children, under the intestacy laws, your spouse gets everything up to £250,000, plus your personal possessions. The problem is that if your property is worth more than £250,000, your spouse could lose their home because surviving children or grand children are entitled to some of the estate if it exceeds £250,000. So the property wouldn’t belong entirely to your partner.
Unmarried couples living together fare even worse. If they don’t make wills, their partner will inherit absolutely nothing under intestacy rules. By law, only married couples and those in civil partnerships are recognized as having any rights over property. Also the intestacy laws are not likely to be tax efficient.
Taking that decision to write your will is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your family. But it’s vital to get it right, which is why it’s advisable to use a solicitor. Even if you only have a few possessions or a small amount to leave, the solicitor will know the best way to word your will. The language in a will needs to be very precise if it is to have legal standing.
A solicitor will also be able to advise you on other aspects of your will, such as making provision for loved ones with special needs or who are in financial difficultly or going through marital problems. You do not want to give your estate to someone who may lose it to a third party such as a spouse in a divorce action or a creditor in bankruptcy proceedings. Again by seeking professional advice you can draft your will to avoid inheritance tax or plan for nursing care fees.
Before you set off to see a solicitor, it’s a good idea to have some thoughts as to what you would like to happen to all your worldly goods when you die. Consider the following questions:
Once you have decided exactly what you would like to happen to your estate, it's time to visit your solicitor. Remember he or she is there to help you and make suggestions. For example, you may say you want everything to go to your partner when you die. However, the solicitor will want to know what you would like to happen if your partner died before you or if you both died in a car accident together. Although the chances of this happening are very slim, the solicitor will want to ensure he understands your wishes.
Once your will is drawn up by your solicitor, you will be asked to check it and sign it in front of two independent witnesses. These should not be people who would benefit from your will. Once signed, the will needs to be kept in a safe place. Your solicitor will probably suggest storing the original document for you, for a small charge.
Always contactable by either phone or email.
S&S offices have a calm atmosphere and on the telephone. I had clear legal advice which was completely accurate and down to earth. This helps when to go to a solicitor, sometimes in a state of unknowing and worry. I had quite severe concerns, things did go wrong and I found the atmosphere of calmness and in going forward toward solving matters reassuring.
WE used Stennett and Stennett to enact a power of attorney and when my father subsequently died they dealt with the financial affairs of his estate and the sale of the house. This was done sensitively and efficiently, keeping the family informed at all times of how things were progressing.
Michael Stennett has handled our family's business over the last few years with great professionalism and charm. I am aware that our case has been extremely challenging and complex and am delighted that we have achieved a satisfactory outcome in the end. Thank you for your patience and perseverence - I would gladely recommend Stennett and Stennett's services to anyone!
They took the time to explain all of the procedures and answer my questions, no matter how trivial they were. They were professional throughout and made sure that our options were always clear and provided guidance without being forceful. They are very efficient and represent excellent value for money. Alison Allen is one of the most professional and helpful people I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with and made the whole process so easy.
My meeting with Michael Stennett following the death of my husband was sympathetic, supportive and informative on the many issues about which I was concerned. It was a very positive experience given the difficult time. Thank you.
We can thoroughly recommend Davinder Salhan at Stennet & Stennett and would like to thank her for making a complicated transaction so easy for us. She was extremely pleasant, as well as highly efficient throughout and we would have no hesitation in returning to her for any future business.
At a time when I was most vulnerable, It was nice to be able to let someone deal with a difficult situation, in the form of Probate. Also to advise me on my own will, and Power of Attorney.
Very helpful .The process was time comsumimg as explained to me by Mr Stennett.Was helpful throughout the whole process and so was Debbie. The only thing i would suggest is to call back or respins to emails in a much more timely fashion.
I would like to take this opportunity in thanking Team Stennett & Sennett for the service, I received during the sale & purchase of my property. Davinder is and asset to Stennett & Stennett, she is very professional and responsive. She explained everything in detail. I was always kept informed throughout the process of the sale and purchase. I would definitely recommend her to friends and family for future legal help and advice.
Michael Stennett made the whole process of organising the new wills for my parents extremely easy; his efficiency and helpfulness were exemplary. Michael explained all the legalize in layperson's terms and so enabled us to make sensible decisions for the future. We came away from this experience very satisfied.
Stennett & Stennett is a pleasant place to visit. Our solicitor was helpful, we were kept well informed on the progress of our house sale. We will be happy to use the service again in the future.
I recently visited Stennett & Stennett Solicitors in order to complete my will. The documentation that I received when made my appointment was clear and enabled me to prepare for my meeting. The meeting was relaxed, informative and less than one hour. Michael made sensible and necessary amendments and I returned within two weeks to sign the official paper work. I am confident that my affairs are now in order, and it was great ti finally get it off my to-do list!
By advising us and carrying out our instructions in a professional and friendly manner.
Stennett & stennett solicitors were excellent specially the solicitor who was on charge of iury case
We are very grateful to have found such a sterling team -professional, reassuring, efficient and friendly.
Made a lot of effort to explain the legal niceties of the outcomes that would take place for the various scenarios that we had to consider in our will. A masterclass in making the complicated simple and straightforward. Good local service and friendly staff, highly recommended.
Davinder Salhan gave us a very professional service. She kept us updated and answered questions quickly. It was obvious that she knew what she was talking about. The most important aspect was that she showed understanding for how stressful it is to sell a property including extending the lease, showed compassion and gave us confidence in the process.
straight forward no nonsense professional service.excellent .AAAA
Informative, helpful, friendly and efficient.
Stennett & Stennett
4 Winchmore Hill Road
DX: 34305 Southgate
Stennett and Stennett is the trading name of Stennett and Stennett Ltd registered in England and Wales under CRN 7666275 and whose registered address is:
4 Winchmore Hill Road, Southgate, London, N14 6PT. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority no. 564879