Wednesday, April 17th, 2024
will writing

Will Writing: Back To Basics

How many times have you put off thinking about writing your Will? Perhaps it doesn’t feel urgent or maybe you don’t consider yourself to have enough money or assets to make it worthwhile. You’re not alone in thinking this. In fact, The National Will Register® reported last year that “42% of adults in the UK have not spoken to anyone about what should happen to their estate upon their passing.”

Nosheen Bukhari, Wills & Probate Director at Manak Solicitors says, “Contemplating the inevitability of our own mortality might not be the most pleasant thought. However, creating a Will is a crucial step in planning for the future and ensuring that your testamentary wishes are adhered to.”

But where do you start? We’ve teamed up with Nosheen to bring you a 4-part blog series breaking down the process of creating a robust Will that will safeguard your wishes.

For this first instalment, we go back to basics. This blog will cover:

  • What is a Will?
  • 7 reasons why you should have a Will
  • Using a solicitor Vs. Making a homemade Will – does it make a difference?
  • Checklist: What you need to get started
  • Jargon-busting – navigating the legal lingo
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Wills & Probate

 

will writing

 

Manak Solicitors – redefining what to expect from your solicitors

First of all, let’s introduce you to Nosheen Bukhari.

This bubbly, bright woman is not only the Wills & Probate Director at Manak Solicitors, she’s also a Dementia Champion (coming on for a decade!), member of Lifetime Lawyers (formerly Solicitors for the Elderly) and a long-time, trusted friend of ours.

Nosh proudly refers to herself as an ‘elderly person solicitor’ because she feels so passionately about serving those who can, unfortunately, often find themselves in a vulnerable position. That means no confusing or intimidating legal speak, just clear and concise communication and, above all else, solutions that will always have her client’s best intentions at their core. Nosh has a real knack for turning complex processes into easy-to-understand actions and instructions.

With 15+ years of legal experience in the bag, there isn’t much that Nosh hasn’t seen. Don’t be shy to ask her either – Nosh has plenty of stories to share!

nosheen will writing director sevenoaks

 

So, what exactly is a Will?

The question you’ve been too embarrassed to ask? We got you…

A Will is a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding how you want your assets to be distributed when you pass away and who will administer your estate on your passing.

 

7 reasons why you should have a Will

1. A Will appoints an Executor

Without a Will, one of your relatives will have to apply to the court in order to be appointed as a personal representative so that they will be able to deal with your estate. Having a Will allows you to name a trusted person(s) of your choice as your Executor(s), who will deal with your inheritance tax, administer your estate and distribute your assets according to your wishes.

2. Distribution of your assets

A Will allows you to specify who inherits what. Without a Will then your estate will be distributed in accordance with the Intestacy Laws, this may not align with your intentions.

3. Setting out your funeral wishes

4. Guardianship for minor children

If you have children under the age of 18, then a Will is essential in designating a guardian in the event of both parents passing away. Without a Will the court will decide on the guardianship of your children and your preferences may not be considered.

5. Avoiding family disputes and reducing stress

Losing a loved one can be a very emotionally difficult time. Having a Will in place, where your wishes are explicitly stated will minimise confusion. You can also include funeral wishes. Your Will provides clarity and will help reduce stress for your family.

6. Tax Planning

A well-crafted Will can include provisions for tax planning helping to minimize the tax burden on your estate. Without a Will, you could end up paying more Inheritance Tax.

7. Peace of Mind

Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of having a Will is the peace of mind it brings, knowing that your wishes are documented and legally binding provides a sense of control over your legacy. Creating A Will is not just a responsibility, it is an act of love and consideration for those you leave behind. With that in mind, creating a Will should be at the forefront of your mind.

 

will writing image

 

Using a solicitor Vs. Making a homemade Will – does it make a difference?

While creating a homemade Will may seem more cost effective in the short term, without the proper expertise and awareness of formal requirement you run the risk of making mistakes that could invalidate your Will and potentially leave your family with costly legal and financial problems. In these cases, there’s no guarantee your wishes will be fulfilled.

The expertise of a solicitor not only provides legal validity but also offers tailored advice to address the intricacies of your individual situation. By investing the time and resources in creating a comprehensive and legally sound Will, you contribute to the peace of mind and financial security of your loved ones in the years to come.

1. Legal Expertise

Solicitors possess the necessary legal knowledge and expertise to ensure that your Will complies with the applicable laws. This reduces the risk of errors or oversights that could render the document invalid.

2. Tailored Advice

A solicitor can provide personalized advice based on your unique circumstances. They can help you navigate complex family situations (blended families), provide protection of your assets and advice regarding inheritance tax position.

3. Witnessing

A homemade Will may lack the proper witnessing and execution required for legal validity. Solicitors ensure that the document meets all legal formalities, making it more likely to stand up in court if challenged.

4. Updates and Revisions

Solicitors can assist with periodic reviews and updates to your Will, ensuring that it reflects any changes in your life, such as marriages, births, or acquisitions of new assets.

5. Minimise the risk of litigation after your passing

 

manak solicitors

 

Checklist: What you need to get started

So, you’ve made the fantastic decision to instruct a solicitor to draft your Will. To get the most out of your appointment (ultimately saving you time and money), Nosh has kindly put together a checklist of information to bring with you:

will writing checklist

1. Your ID

You will need to bring along valid ID and your proof of address to confirm your identity.

2. Details of Assets

A list of your assets, including properties, bank accounts, investments, and personal belongings.

3. Beneficiary Information

Clear identification of who will inherit your assets. If you are disinheriting a close family member a solicitor will keep a contemporaneous file note to state your reasoning and provide this information if the estate is litigated on after your passing.

4. Executor details

Name and address of your executors. They will be responsible for administering your estate and obtaining the grant of probate.

5. Guardianship Preferences

If applicable, your preferences for the guardianship of minor children.

6. Debts and Liabilities

Information about any outstanding debts or liabilities that need to be addressed.

 

Jargon-busting – navigating the legal lingo

wills and probate jargon busting

Executor: the trusted individual you have chosen to deal with your estate on your passing.

Issue: When a Will refers to a person’s ‘issue’ these are their lineal descendants. Typically, their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and so forth. Usually, a person is making provisions for their descendants that are alive at the time of making their Will or are born later.

Execution: This is the formal process of signing a Will to make sure that is legally valid. There are specific requirements for the valid execution of a Will.

Beneficiary: A person or entity named in a Will to receive assets.

Testator/Testatrix: This is the person who has made the Will.

Intestacy: Intestacy occurs when there is no legally valid Will in place or if one aspect of the Will fails (death of executors prior to the testator) at the time of a person’s death.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Wills & Probate

faqs for will writing

Q: If I die without a Will. Will my estate automatically pass to my spouse?

A: Unfortunately, this may not be the case! Under the intestacy provisions. If there are no children, then your spouse will be entitled to the entire residue of your estate. However, if there are children, your spouse will be entitled to a statutory legacy (currently £322,00) and your personal chattels. The remaining of your estate is then divided equally between your spouse and children. This is not tax efficient and may not be what you would like to happen.

 

Q: Can I gift my home and continue to live in it?

A: If you do with then this will be regarded by HMRC as a 2Gift with a Reservation Of Benefit” The value of your home will still be included as part of your estate for IHT purposes when you die

 

Q: Does a long-term partner have the same status as a spouse?

A: No. If you die without a Will, an unmarried partner will have no right of inheritance from a deceased’s estate.

 

Q: How can I secure an inheritance tax efficient Will?

A: By speaking to an experienced solicitor or legal professional. They will then discuss your circumstances and tailor your Will accordingly.

 

Q: How can I protect my home from care home fees or future remarriage of my spouse?

A: You can do this by creating a Life Interest Wills. But this will all be dependant, on your current circumstances. Our Will consultations will include a discussion of whether this is right for you. If you would like to make an appointment to discuss creating a Will, then please see our website for details of how to get in touch.

 

Do check out Manak’s blogs on their website for more expert guides that answer your questions, such as ‘What happens if I die without a Will?

 

Getting in touch with Nosh and the team at Manak Solicitors

Visit the website.

Email: info@manaksolicitors.co.uk

Follow them on socials: Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram.

Phone: 01732 207 207

46 London Road
Sevenoaks
Kent
TN13 1AS

Outside of Sevenoaks, Manak also has offices in Orpington, Gravesend and The Shard.

 

“I have received the services of many solicitors over the years. But I can honestly say that Nosheen Bukhari from Manak Solicitors in Orpington, Kent has simply been the best. I could not have wished for a more caring and professional service from Nosheen and her very competent friendly staff. I can highly recommend the whole team to anyone needing the most reliable, honest and efficient service I have ever come across, at a very reasonable cost too.”

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