71% of UK residents do not have a will - have you made yours?
Making a will lets you clearly set out your wishes when you die, such as:
- who the guardians of your children will be?
- How your assets will be divided?
- How your family will avoid paying too much inheritance tax?
At Guardian Solicitors, we specialise in drawing up wills and ensuring that all of your wishes are clearly listed in your will. Please see our Q&A below that provides you with key answers as to what you can and cannot do when deciding how to allocate your estate.
Why should I make a will?
A will allows you to dictate what happens to your assets, how they are divided, and who will look after your children; it gives you peace of mind that your affairs are in order when you die. If you do not make a will, the law will decide who inherits your estate. Thus, if you want to make specific provisions for family, friends and/or charities, make a will!
The law still does not recognise unmarried or co-habiting partners who live together as having the same rights as a husband and wife or civil partners. Consequently, despite the length of your relationship, your partner will not receive anything from your estate if you do not have a will, and vice-versa.
"A will is also vital if you have children or dependants such as an elderly parent who you may support financially"
A will is also vital if you have children or dependants such as an elderly parent who you may support financially. Without a will, uncertainty may arise in regards to who will look after your children/dependants and whether they will have financial provision after your death.
Specific gifts and cash legacies - Your will allows you to leave certain items to friends and family, or to leave a sum of money to a person or organisation, such as a charity.
Who ensures my will is settled as I wish?
Executors - These are the people you choose to deal with the administration of your estate after your death (those responsible for fulfilling your requests in your will). Executors can also be beneficiaries under your will and many people choose their spouse, civil partner, children, family members or friends. In some cases, you may need independent professional executors, such as the Guardian Solicitors team, which has extensive experience as professional executors.
Ask your executors if they are happy to do this, as there can be long-term responsibilities, particularly if you include a trust in your will. It also makes sense to appoint someone significantly younger than you!
What happens to my children?
If you have children under the age of 18, you should appoint someone to act as their legal guardian if you die. A guardian would normally look after the children on a day-to-day basis and make important decisions about their education, medical treatment and general welfare.
Can I decide about my funeral?
You can include any funeral wishes in your will. Do you wish to be buried or cremated? Are you an organ donor? If you would like to become one, you should register on the organ-donor register and carry an organ-donor card.
What makes the will official?
A will is not effective until it has been signed. But beware the strict rules on signing - follow these incorrectly and your will could become invalid. We will usually supervise the signing and witnessing of your will at our office or your home to make sure that it is valid.
"Guardian Solicitors provides a complete will-writing service"
So what can you offer me?
Guardian Solicitors provides a complete will-writing service, which includes:
- a consultation with a qualified solicitor to discuss the preparation of a new will or the review of an existing one
- drafting your will, according to your instructions
- a consultation to finalise details and ensure your will is correctly signed