If you care about what happens to your property after you die, you should make a Will. Without one, the State directs who inherits, so your friends, favourite charities and relatives may get nothing. It is particularly important to make a Will if you are not married nor in registered civil partnership (a legal arrangement that gives same-sex partners the same status as a married couple). This is because the law does not automatically recognise cohabitants (partners who live together) as having the same rights as husbands, wives and civil partners. As a result, even if you have lived together for many years, your cohabitant may be left with nothing if you have not made a will. A Will is also vital if you have children or dependants who may not be able to care for themselves. Without a Will there could be uncertainty about who will look after or provide for them if you die.
You should also consider taking legal advice about making a Will if:
- several people could make a claim on your estate when you die because they depend on you financially;
- you wanted to include a Trust in your Will (perhaps to provide for young children or a disabled person, save tax, or simply protect your assets in some way after you die);
- your permanent home is not in the UK or you are not a British Citizen;
- you live here but you have overseas property;
- You are a co-owner of the property which is held by you and other owner(s) as a tenancy in common (i.e. you both own a distinctive share of the property as opposed to whole of the property together)-in this case the property will not pass to the other surviving owner under the ‘right of survivorship’. We will apply for an office copy from Land Registry to check this or
- you own all or part of a business.
Once you have had a Will drawn up, some changes to your circumstances-for example, marriage, civil partnership, separation, divorce or if your civil partnership is dissolved (legally ended)-can make all or part of that will invalid or inadequate. This means that you must review your Will regularly, to reflect any major life changes. Although it is possible to write a Will without a Solicitor’s help, this is generally not advisable as there are various legal formalities you need to follow to make sure that your Will is valid. Without the help of an expert, there is a real risk you could make a mistake, which could cause problems for your family and friends after you die.
Solicitors at Jay Visva Solicitors
Solicitors at Jay Visva Solicitors are experienced in Will drafting and have been advising clients for years. Once you have appointed us we may want to know details such as, what you own, who gets what, family and other beneficiaries, guardians, other wishes and Executors of your Will. If it is clear that detailed tax Planning is required as the assets are substantial, we will refer you to other professionals, such as Accountants who can give this advice although we may be still able to draft the Will once the advice has been obtained. We may also contact/instruct a Medical Practitioner to satisfy ourselves if there is any question of mental capacity of our clients (testators).