WHAT is a will and why do I need to make one?

A will is an instrument that comes into effect on your death.

It tells everyone what should happen to your money, possessions and property after you die (all these things together are called your ‘estate’).

If you don’t leave a will, the law decides how your estate is passed on – and this might not be in line with your wishes.

When a valid will has been executed properly with the right legal advice, it makes it much easier for your spouse, family and / or friends to sort everything out when you die – without a will the process can be more time consuming and stressful.

In the case where individuals don’t write a will, everything they own will be shared out in a standard way defined by the law – which isn’t always the way you might want.

For example, this doesn’t allow for particular gifts or legacies of cash, shares and property, and your personal possessions and / or sentimental items to be given to the people that you wish to benefit.

You may find in your life that certain relatives or friends have been closer to you than other family members and want them to be included and benefit under your will, whereas this will not be possible without a will.

When an individual has obtained legal advice on their will, it can help reduce the amount of inheritance tax that might be payable on the value of the property and money you leave behind.

For example, your wills can be drafted to include various types of trust for tax planning purposes and clauses can be drafted to take advantage of business property relief and agricultural property relief for business owners and farmers.

Writing a will is particularly important if you have children, dependent adults or other family who depend on you financially, or if you want to leave something to people outside your immediate family to those such as friends, organisations and charities.

The will ensures these wishes are expressed clearly and enforced legally.

A will can identify guardians for any of your children under the age of 18 rather than letting the court decide who is best placed for this.

In conclusion, a will is a way of protecting and controlling your financial legacy after your death and ensuring that your loved ones receive the best with the least hassle and stress.

It is important your will is drafted by an experienced private client team solicitor or professional such as the private client team at Allington Hughes Law to ensure that your will takes advantage of your personal circumstances with tailored clauses.