Making and Updating a Will
We recognise that everyone wants to make sure their loved ones are looked after and we have been helping clients to manage their family affairs and advising them on all aspects of wills, trusts and related matters for many years. Our clients come from all walks of life and each has the personal attention of one of our team - someone who will give them expert advice, no matter how sensitive the problem may be.
Making a will shouldn’t be a daunting task and our friendly, specialist solicitors are always on hand to help with any questions either you or your family might have about will writing or probate services. To avoid any unnecessary situations or costly errors in the future, it is advised to ensure that your will is written and certified by a professional solicitor.
Please either call us on 01539 721945, drop in to one of our branches in either Kendal or Windermere today to discuss making a will, or contact us and one of our specialist will writing lawyers will be in touch to help.
What is a Will and Why Should I Write One?
A will, or testament, is a legal document which specifies the people responsible for managing your estate and gives specific details of how property, savings and other financial assets should be managed and distributed in the event of death.
Making a will is important if:
- You are married or have a civil partner
- You are changing your marital status, e.g. you are getting married or divorced
- You are concerned about paying Inheritance Tax
- You have children or other loved ones
- You have particular items or assets you wish to pass on to your family, friends or a charity
Read on below to learn how making a will could help you…
In England and Wales when a person dies, someone must acquire the legal right to deal with their estate (their money, property and possessions). This right is known as a ‘grant of representation’, or more commonly 'Probate'.
There are some circumstances within inheritance matters when probate is not required.
If you are married or have a civil partner, but don’t leave a will, your spouse or partner will not automatically receive all your estate. Over a certain limit, which changes from time to time, the balance may be shared with other relatives. If this is not what you want, you need to make a will.
If you are living with someone, but not in a marriage or a civil partnership, your partner is not provided for unless you leave a will, even if you have lived together for years.
If you have children and don’t leave a will expressing your wishes about who should look after your children and decide upon their future, the law will make those decisions for you. Without leaving a will, your children could get control of any money at the age of 18 – whether they are responsible or not.
If you are getting divorced your estranged spouse may receive some or all of your estate or if already divorced, your children may now be your main beneficiaries and so the wording of any existing will may need to be changed. The same is true if you re-marry. It is important to note that marriage revokes a will and a new will must be written.
You may have specific items, for example, jewellery or other valuables which you wish to leave to certain family members. By including this in your will, you are making your wishes clear and it can help avoid any conflict after your death. Families tend to fall out over the contents of the house – detailing your wishes in your will can help avoid this.
Jim was an only child who had lived on his family farm all of his life, taking it over from his parents when they died. When he married, his wife and her two children from a previous marriage came to live with him and the children grew up on the farm. Although Jim brought the children up as his own, he didn’t legally adopt them. Jim had always assumed that the children he had brought up would inherit the farm when he was gone, and he didn’t make a will.
When he died, Jim had no blood relatives — no siblings, parents, even cousins. Because Jim’s step-children were not blood relatives and he had made no will, they were not entitled to any of his estate. The entire farm and estate went to the Crown. If Jim had only made a will he could have ensured that the farm went to what he thought of as his family. Instead, the children who had lived most of their lives on the farm had to make a claim against the estate and deal with the might of the Crown Solicitor.
Making a will is something that many people put off for all sorts of reasons — many don’t want to face their own mortality, and others don’t think they have enough to leave to make it worthwhile. Making a will isn’t just about having a lot of money or land to leave to your family — it is also about making things easier for your loved ones once you are no longer there.
If Jim had had any idea of what would happen to the farm after his death, he would surely have made a will securing the future for his step-children and avoiding the trauma and expense of an inheritance claim. All too often people under-estimate the value of what they have, and who might benefit if they don’t make their wishes clear. Making a will gives you peace of mind.