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.
Absolutely great service, professional and efficient. I would highly recommend Ian Fraser and Alison Allen. 5 star
Extremely professional, attentive to my needs and quick resolution to all issues that arose throughout my purchase.
They carried out the conveyancing thoroughly and efficiently and appreciated the fact that they always made time to see me and address my concerns. I would be very happy to work with them again and already highly recommend them.
I have been a client of Stennett and Stennett for a while now and have always found them professional, efficient, understanding and caring. Michael Stennett in particular has advised and helped me in dealing with the administration of the Power of Attorney for both my parents and has always gone out of his way to provide a friendly and attentive service. I would not hesitate in recommending them to friends and family and will always use them in any future legal transactions when I need legal advice.
Without hesitation I can say Stennett & Stennett kept me well informed by periodic updates about the progress of the estate, and what options were available and advised accordingly but always asking what i wanted to do .His services were definitely efficient and courteous
I was seen on time and the service was very good.
All the members of Stennett & Stennett have been very friendly & efficient since we first started using the company quite a few years ago. They have recently dealt with, what could have been, a tricky situation very successfully & we are very happy with the outcome. We will continue to use their services.
As always Stenett's have given us professional, supportive and helpful service. Thank you very much. The professionalism of all Stennett's staff far outweighed that of the other solicitors in our conveyancing chain.
We received very professional and fast service from Stennett & Stennett right from the first phone call. I called in and asked for a particular service for which I was put through to the right person straightaway. Debbie was very knowledgeable and offered us to come in for a free of charge consultation with a solicitor, which we did. During that meeting with Mr Stennett he arranged for the right documents and forms to be sent to us and made another appointment to come in and sign the prepared contracts. That's it! Many thanks.
A big thank you to Stennent & Stennent Solicitors, for helping my 94 years old Auntie to move into her new retirement home. They were very kind and considerate towards my Auntie and explained everything very clearly to her. With their calm attitude and approach it avoided any stressful feelings for her. I strongly recommend you use their services. Thanks again Stennent.
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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.
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