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Creating or Changing a Will

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Online Legal Advice and Services - We have already brought online processes and safeguards to allow our professionals and support teams to function safely from our offices and fully online. In light of the Coronavirus developments clients seeking legal advice need to simply complete our online enquiry form or call our switchboard on +44 (0)203 959 9123 who will arrange and appointment via our online platform, WhatsApp, skype or telephone conferencing.

The one legal document that we all need is a Will. Most people put off thinking about a Will  but top London Wills, tax and probate solicitors say that sorting out your Will and estate planning should be prioritised in the same way as most of us commit to sorting out life insurance with the intention of looking after and protecting our families and loved ones.

It is equally important to make sure that your Will is kept up to date to cover life events such as:

  • Your marriage;

  • A new cohabiting relationship;

  • A relationship breakdown or divorce;

  • The arrival of children or grandchildren;

  • The death or incapacity of a trustee or executor of your Will;

  • A desire to make specific bequests to new named beneficiary to reflect changing family and personal circumstances.

To speak to a member of the London based OTS Solicitors Wills, tax and probate team please call us on 0203 959 9123 for an initial discussion about how we can help you. If you prefer you can contact us through our online enquiry form.

Do I need a Will?

Many people think that a Will is unnecessary because if they pass away without leaving a Will their assets will pass under intestacy rules. The thought process is therefore why bother with a Will? Top London Wills, tax and probate solicitors answer by saying that dying without a Will (called dying intestate) can:

  • Create additional stress and worry for your loved ones;

  • Potentially increase the likelihood of a family member or dependent making a claim against your estate;

  • Prevent you from estate and tax planning, for example leaving a portion of your estate to a charity this reducing inheritance tax;

  • Make your estate more expensive to administer.

The benefits of making a Will

If you make a Will you can:

  • Decide who gets your money: the Will does not necessarily have to name beneficiaries but can say, for example, that your estate is to be left equally between your children or grandchildren. It is important to tell your Wills, tax and probate solicitor if any of the people that you treat as ’blood relatives’ are not actually biologically related to you, for example, a step child who is as close to you as your natural children;

  • Appoint executors and trustees of your estate: the executors and trustees can be trusted friends or professionals such as your Wills, tax and probate solicitor. The role of an executor and trustee is important as they make sure that your estate is dealt with properly;

  • Let your loved ones and executors know about your funeral wishes in the event you have views about burial or cremation;

  • Create trusts in your Will to provide flexibility and privacy by preparing a letter of wishes to accompany the Will. After probate a Will is made a public document and is available for anyone to read. A letter of wishes remains confidential. A letter of wishes can be a very useful document as it can set out your wishes to your executors and trustees and give them guidance on how you would want them to exercise their discretion.

Wills and children

None of us like to contemplate dying whilst children are dependent upon us but responsible parents need to protect their children from all eventualities, including a parent’s death.

Many people think that if you die, you cannot do anything to help your child. However, a Wills, tax and probate solicitor will tell you that you are wrong. A Will protects your loved ones, after your death and is essential if you have children.

If you are a parent, you should make a Will to:

  • Appoint testamentary guardians for any infant children to protect your children in case you pass away while the children are still minors;

  • Leave money to your children and put conditions on gifts, for example your Will can say that your children should only get their inheritance when they are 21 years of age or at a later age;

  • Your Will can give your executors and trustees the power to advance money to your children or other minor beneficiaries in case they need cash prior to receiving their inheritance, for example to pay their university fees or to provide a deposit on a  house.

 

Wills and families

In some family scenarios dying without a Will creates enormous problems for loved ones, for example:

  • Unmarried partners and families – a cohabitee will not inherit a share of the estate under intestacy rules but may be able to make a claim against the estate as a dependent;

  • Where you have been married more than once – a former spouse may be able to make a claim against the estate if a clean break financial order was not made in the divorce  and financial settlement proceedings;

  • If you are a business owner and have a family business.

 

Wills and marriage 

When you marry or remarry any existing Will is automatically revoked. That means your estate passes under intestacy rules. Those rules may produce a very different result to what you anticipated or create a legal dispute between relatives over who should get what. From a top London Wills, tax and probate solicitor’s perspective it is vital that you make a new Will when you get married or alternatively you express your Will as being made in contemplation of your planned marriage.

Wills and divorce 

When you get divorced or dissolve a civil partnership, any provision in your Will for your former spouse or civil partner ceases to have effect. That may not be appropriate or you may want to change another aspect of your Will in light of your divorce or the dissolution of your civil partnership.

London Will’s solicitors advise that, if you separate from a spouse, you should review any existing Will or make a Will, rather than leaving things to chance or until after the divorce proceedings have been finalised. 

Can a Will be contested?

A Will can be challenged. That is why it is important to get the best London Wills, and estate planning solicitors’ advice to minimise the risk of your Will being challenged by a relative, dependant or beneficiary.

Challenging a Will through court proceedings can be expensive. It is sensible to get expert legal advice from the top London Wills solicitors to make sure your Will is fit for purpose. It is also just as important to review and, if appropriate, change your Will when significant life events occur such as the formation of a new relationship or a separation.

OTS Wills, tax and probate solicitors 

For expert legal advice on UK Wills, tax and probate law, contact OTS London Wills, tax and probate solicitors today for an informal chat on how OTS Solicitors can help you.  Call us on 0203 959 9123 and let us help you. Alternatively, use our online enquiry form to contact us.  
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