Wills & Trusts guide
When you suffer a loss in your family the last thing you want to have to worry about is the legal matters that arise, but unfortunately, you have to. Sorting out the deceased estate and assets is incredibly important and something that has to be done correctly if those named on the deceased will are to receive their inheritance. Equally, if you have family, then whether you want to or not, you have to think about what happens to your family if you pass away. You must take steps to ensure your assets are passed onto your loved ones, so they are well looked after once you are gone and so that they don’t have to fight to claim what is rightfully theirs.
Can I draft a will without a solicitor?Yes, you can draft a will yourself, you don’t have to have a solicitor write this or witness it for you, but it is advised you do. This is because it is easy to make mistakes when writing a will that could raise problems once you are gone. Problems such as this can cost your loved ones a lot of money to sort out, therefore reducing the inheritance you have left for them.
Can I claim my inheritance if a will wasn’t made?If you have lost a loved one and they did not have a will in place, it can be very difficult to claim what is rightfully yours. Traditionally, most assets will be given to immediate family, spouses and children are entitled to certain percentages by law. Therefore, if you aren’t legally an immediate family member and there was no will in place, you could be left with nothing.
Will you help me contest a will?Yes, solicitors specialising in wills, trusts and probate will have the experience to help you to contest a will. They will understand why you are contesting the will; they’ll explain the likelihood of your claim being successful and they will represent you fairly to give your claim the best chance for success.
I need advice with inheritance tax, can you help?All specialists in wills, trusts and probate should be able to fully explain inheritance tax so that you understand it completely. They will also be able to provide you with ways you can reduce the amount of inheritance tax you need to pay, so it is worthwhile seeking legal advice, even if you know what inheritance tax is and how it works.
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I need to change my will, do I need legal advice?Not necessarily, you can change your will by yourself without the need for legal help. However, just like with drafting a will, you could make mistakes in amending the will which mean that after you are gone, the will is no longer valid or is questionable. Again, this could cause your loved ones more problems after you are gone and potentially mean they don’t get the inheritance you left for them.
A named person on my will has died, do I need to change my will?Yes, if you name someone in your will and they pass away before you, you will need to amend your will. Inheritance cannot pass to someone who is deceased. If you name someone on your will and they pass away, whatever you were giving them in the will is now left unassigned, and this could cause problems for your loved ones when settling your estate.
Wills, trusts and probates can become complex documents, not so much if you leave everything to your spouse (because this is standard), but if you decide to split up your estate and leave certain assets to specific people, then the will can become very complicated document to produce correctly. It is true that some people do decide to write their own wills, and this is something you can legally do.
However, it is also true that many people make mistakes or errors in their wills which means they are not legally binding and could raise more problems in the event of their death. Equally, not having a will at all can be even more problematic, meaning your loved ones are left battling to try to claim inheritance that would have been theirs with no questions asked, if there were a will in place.
As well as helping to draft wills, solicitors are also able to help with:
- Making changes and amendments to existing wills
- Advice on who to appoint as an executor
- Settling disputes over your will (or the will of a loved one)
- Help to reduce the amount you pay in inheritance tax
- Ensuring that the right amount of money is deducted from your estate to cover things like debts and liabilities you had, to make sure your family gets the full amount they inherited
- Storing the will for you in a safe place and producing it in the event of your death
After your death, your family is gong to be devastated, the last thing they are going to want to do is handle your estate. By having a will drafted by a solicitor you take this burden from them, the solicitor (along with the executor of your will), will handle all of this for them.
Having a will drafted and stored by a professional legal team is best way to ensure your family are well-looked after when you are no longer here.
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