Other advantages of a Will
As if avoiding your estate passing into the control of people not of your choosing was not enough, Wills offer the individual the chance to define other wishes after death. Examples include;
- Selecting guardians for your children
- Deciding who will receive your pet/s
- What will happen to much-treasured family heirlooms
If you had planned to pass part of your estate to persons outside of your family, including, cohabitants or unmarried partners, ex-spouses or civil partners, step-parents or stepchildren, or friends, you will need to draft a Will, as, under the Rules of Intestacy, none of these individuals would receive a penny.
Validity is vital to ensure your wishes are carried out
There is a common belief that any Will is valid as it expresses the wishes of the individual, but there are firm rules regarding what constitutes validity in this context. For a Will to be deemed valid, it must be made:
- in writing,
- by a person with testamentary capacity (meaning they are over 18, and they fully understand what is written within the Will),
- voluntarily without any undue influence, and
- signed in the presence of two independent witnesses who also sign the document
It is recommended that your Will should be reviewed periodically to ensure it reflects your current life situation and wishes. Major life events may effectively render your Will invalid; for example, if you get married.
Given only 40% of the population have a Will, many millions of people are at risk of leaving behind a legacy of confusion and disagreement. An experienced solicitor who specialises in Wills and probate matters will not only ensure your Will is valid and encompasses all of the considerations needed (including many you may never have thought about), they will remain in a position to advise you as your life progresses. While you won’t benefit from a writing a Will yourself, you can rest assured that your affairs will be handled according to your wishes, and you have done all you have to protect your legacy once you are gone. It is also important to plan ahead for what happens should you not have the capacity to make decisions, and a power of attorney lawyer would be beneficial.
It is also important to plan ahead for what happens should you not have the capacity to make decisions, and a power of attorney lawyer would be beneficial.
Please note, this article does not constitute legal advice.
Guillaumes LLP Solicitors is a full-service law firm based in Weybridge, Surrey. Our will and probate lawyers are highly experienced and can assist you with all matters relating to the drafting or execution of a will. To make an appointment, please call us on 01932 840 111.