Most of us spend the majority our lives working to provide for ourselves and our families. Throughout our lives we may acquire property, savings and personal possessions as well as children! Making a Will can save a lot of stress for those you leave behind as well as giving you peace of mind by ensuring your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes.
When it is Advisable to Use a Solicitor
There are some circumstances when it is particularly advisable to use a Solicitor. These are where:-
- you’ll have to pay Inheritance Tax – this is paid on estates valued at over £325,000 for an individual or up to £650,000 for a married couple
- your family position is complicated – perhaps you have children with a previous partner, or you want to make special arrangements for children or a family member with a disability
- you have assets overseas like a holiday home
- you run a business and you expect it to form a part of your estate
- you share a property with someone who is not your husband, wife or civil partner
- you wish to make provision for a dependant who is unable to care for themselves
The Benefits of Using a Solicitor
In addition to receiving expert advice, using a Solicitor to draft your Will can also offer the following benefits:
- You’re protected if something goes wrong. If you have any problems you can make a complaint direct to the Solicitor’s firm. If the Solicitor’s firm doesn’t deal with your complaint properly then you can go to the Legal Ombudsman.
- You can be confident that there are no mistakes. Complicated rules about the drafting and execution of Wills could mean it is not valid when you die.
- The complicated bits are done for you. The law surrounding inheritances, taxes and trusts is a complicated area. Solicitors will be familiar with the law and they will be able to help you make the most effective choices.
- Your Will is stored safely. Most solicitors will usually store the original for you in a fireproof room for a nominal fee or even free of charge.
The Risks of not Using a Solicitor
Whilst it is not a legal requirement for a Will to be drawn up by a Solicitor, trying to make your own Will can lead to mistakes or a lack of clarity which could ultimately mean that your Will is invalid or that it is interpreted in a different way to that which you intended.
Some of the most common mistakes in making a Will are:-
- not being aware of the formal requirements.
- failing to take account of the entire estate.
- failing to take into account the possibility that a beneficiary or executor may die before you.
- making changes to your Will. If these alterations are not signed and witnessed, they are invalid.
- being unaware of the effect of marriage, a civil partnership, divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership.
- being unaware of the rules which may enable certain family members to claim from the estate if they believe they are not adequately provided for.
It is generally advisable to use a Solicitor or have a Solicitor check your Will to make sure it achieves what you want it to. It is easy to make mistakes which can cause problems after your death and incur considerable legal costs to rectify, which shall in turn reduce the value of your estate.
At Backhouse Solicitors our specialist Solicitors will explain your options when making a Will to best support your circumstances. We can draft them in accordance with your wishes, explain the tax consequences and if necessary act as an Executor when no other suitable person is available.
If you’re considering making a Will and would like further advice or guidance please contact our team today for a FREE 30 minute consultation.
The Backhouse Solicitors Team