The best way to avoid legal issues arising after your death is to plan appropriately during your lifetime. Making sure that you have a properly drafted and up to date will is key to avoiding disputes later on.

Having your wishes set out in a properly drafted will is important to ensure that your assets pass to who you wish at the time of your death. Without a will, your assets will pass in accordance with intestate succession legal procedures, this can result in an outcome which is not what you would wish.

We can advise you on the appointment of executors, how best to accomplish your wishes and the mitigation of inheritance tax. In our experience, having an appropriately drafted will makes the winding up of your estate quicker, easier and less expensive.

Wills - FAQ

Do I need a Will?

Yes, we would always advise that you have a properly drafted Will in place. If you do not have a Will your assets would pass in terms of the law and not in terms of your wishes. (link to document on intestate succession). A properly drafted Will also ensures protection for any young or vulnerable beneficiaries by ensuring that any funds due to them are held in trust until the reach a certain age or are held in trust to protect any benefits package in place.

Who should I appoint as an executor?

Your executor should be somebody you trust to administer your estate in accordance with your wishes. Your executor can also be a beneficiary in your will and it is common for a spouse or child to be appointed as executor and also be a beneficiary. You can appoint more than one executor and we would normally suggest that you have an alternative detailed in case your executor is unable to act for any reason.

Can I appoint a Guardian for my children in my Will?

You can detail who you would wish to be guardian of your children in the event of your death. This is not binding but can be used as evidence of your wishes to the court should a dispute arise in respect of this.

Do I need to include my estranged children in my Will?

No, you can leave your assets however you please in your Will. However, you do need to be aware of the concept of Legal Rights. (link to document to download if possible) If you do have an estranged child we would always advise that you discuss this in detail with one of our Solicitors who will be able to advise you further on these rights.

Does it matter if I am separated or divorced?

Yes, when you divorce any provisions made in your will for your former spouse or civil partner become invalid unless your will states otherwise. However, this does not apply on separation even if you have a minute of agreement in place.

In addition, until there is a minute of agreement in place or a divorce is finalised your spouse or civil partner will still have a claim in legal rights in your estate If you do not have a Will they would be able to claim prior rights which could include a house, contents of a house and a cash right of up to £89,000 in addition to a claim in legal rights. We would always advise that you discuss this in detail with one of our Solicitors who can give you advice on your particular circumstances.

Can my Will be changed after my death?

Yes. If your beneficiaries and executors agree to do so it is possible to vary a Will after death. This requires to be done within 2 years of death

Should I have a trust in my Will?

There are different types of trusts that can be included within your Will, and the suitability of a trust depends on your wishes. A trust is a way of managing and protecting assets for particular beneficiaries, such as young children or beneficiaries with disabilities.

Wills – Fee Guide

The cost of preparing your Will, depends on the complexity of the Will required and ranges from £125 for a basic Will to £250 for a more complex Will, for example including businesses or complex trust or inheritance tax planning issues.

Where you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting and your circumstances are similar, a £50 discount will be applied where a Will is prepared for each of you. There are not usually any outlays associated with the preparation of a Will.

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