It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how much money you have, making a Will now is the single most important thing you can do you make sure your wishes are preserved and your loved ones are provided for after you die.
At Lewis Denley, we can help you create a strong Will which clearly outlines your final wishes about the distribution of your money and property as well as other important matters, such as who will look after your children.
We can also help you make sure your estate is tax-efficient, so you can leave as much of your money to your loved ones as possible.
Our Wills solicitors’ expertise
Thinking about what will happen after you die can feel like a daunting and slightly morbid task. Therefore, our goal is to make your Will drafting experience as simple and straightforward as possible. We’ll help you get your affairs sorted in no time at all so you can carry on feeling confident your loved ones are provided for. We can also regularly review your Will so it always reflects your true wishes.
We have years of experience assisting across all Will drafting matters, including:
- Appointing Executors to manage the administration of your estate
- Leaving money and property to your loved ones
- Structuring your estate and utilising tax exceptions and reliefs to minimise Inheritance Tax
- Appointing guardians to look after your minor children
- Creating Trusts to pass on money and property in specific ways (for example, to leave property for minor children or to place conditions on adult children’s inheritance)
- Leaving money to charity
- Setting out funeral wishes
- Create “contingencies”, for example, who should inherit if your chosen Beneficiaries die before you
- Reviewing your Will every 5 years or whenever your life circumstances change to ensure it reflects your current wishes
Why make a Will?
Many people put off making a Will until they are approaching later life, or they assume they don’t have enough money or property to make it worthwhile. However, there are many advantages to making a Will whatever age you are or how much money you have, the foremost being that if you do not, your estate will not be distributed according to your wishes.
The following are just some of the reasons you should make a Will:
Leave your money and property to whomever you like
In England and Wales, testators can leave their money and property to anyone, including to charity if that is their wish. Only in very narrow circumstances can someone challenge a Will and we can provide advice about this if you have any concerns.
Appoint Executors to administer your estate
After you die, someone needs to take on the responsibility of administering your estate, including valuing your money and property, paying off any debts, paying Inheritance Tax, and distributing inheritance to your Beneficiaries.
Because of the importance of this role, it’s vital to appoint a person or people you trust to get the job done. In most situations your Executors will be relatives or close family friends. However, we're also happy to act as professional Executors if you would prefer.
For more information about the role of Executors, please visit our Estate Administration page.
Appoint guardians for your children
If you have children under the age of 18, you can appoint guardians to look after them should you (and your spouse, partner or anyone else with parental responsibility) unfortunately pass away while they are still underage.
Minimise Inheritance Tax
Above the tax-free threshold of £325,000, Inheritance Tax can swallow up to 40% of your estate after you die, limiting the amount your loved ones can inherit.
We can provide specialist advice about drafting your Will to take advantage of various tax reliefs and exemptions, minimising the amount your estate will have to pay, including:
- Leaving your entire estate to your spouse or civil partner (they will pay no tax and your tax-free allowance will be added to theirs)
- Boosting your tax free allowance by leaving the family home to a dependant (at the moment, the Main Residence Ni Rate Band allows tax relief of up to £150,000 – rising to £175,000 from April 2020)
- Using trusts
- Leaving money and property to charity (which could minimise Inheritance Tax on your whole estate)
- Agricultural Property Relief
- Business Relief
Leave inheritance for unmarried partners and/or dependants
Under the current Rules of Intestacy, if you are unmarried and don’t leave a Will, your partner cannot inherit your estate.
Protect the interests of your unmarried partner and other dependants (such as step children or foster children) by leaving a Will specifying them as Beneficiaries.
Preserve your home
As you and your spouse or civil partner grow older, there’s a chance you require care. Where your local authority arranges your care, they will take your home’s value into account and it could be sold to pay care fees. This can limit the amount of money you are able to leave your children and other loved ones after you and your partner both pass away.
We can help you use your Will to ringfence some of the value of your home by setting up a trust with your spouse or civil partner as Beneficiary. Upon your death, your share of the property will be held in trust for your partner and cannot be used to pay for care.
We can draft the legal documents to specifically entitle your partner to continue living in the property as well as including mechanisms for the sale of the property if they do need to move into long-term residential care in the future.
If you have specific wishes or plans for your funeral, you can set these out in your Will. Although your loved ones aren’t legally bound to abide by your plans, it will ensure your wishes are made clear and, assuming your Executors are close and trusted relatives or friends, are likely to be followed.
Avoid family disagreements
By setting out your wishes in a valid and legally binding Will, there can be little dispute about how you want your estate to be administered. It will also save your loved ones the stress of having to deal with your estate without any instructions.
What happens if I don’t make a Will?
If you do not make a Will, your money and property will be distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy and someone you would have not personally chosen may be appointed to administer the estate (called an Administrator).
Under the rules of intestacy, only certain people are allowed to inherit from your estate. This includes spouses and civil partners, but not unmarried partners. Your children will also inherit some of your estate whether you want them to or not.
Do I need a solicitor to make a Will?
Yes. Wills must follow strict formal rules to be legally binding. It’s also important to consult an expert so you’re aware of all your options, including exploring whether there are ways to make your estate more tax-efficient or to reduce the possibility of someone challenging the Will after you die.
Why choose Lewis Denley’s Wills solicitors?
At Lewis Denley, we’re proud to put people first. Whatever your personal circumstances, we’ll listen carefully to your needs and concerns and swiftly draft your Will to reflect your wishes, allowing you to move on with your life confident that your property and loved ones’ interests are protected.
We maintain a firm belief in costs transparency. We’ll always discuss fees with you up front and we’re happy to offer flexible fixed fees to the majority of our clients.