Making A Will
It is said that nearly three quarters of 16-54 year olds in Britain do not have a will.
November has been Make A Will Month throughout the UK. This is to encourage people who do not currently have a will to make one or if you do have a will to reconsider it to see if anything has changed that would need to be covered.
Many people do not want to make a will because they do not want to consider their death and the effects it will have on others. Many people simply cannot afford to make a will or are put off by the complex language that a will contains. 23% of the population do not believe that they are “rich enough” to make a will.
13% of the population in Britain have said that they have a package written will that they had picked up in a supermarket. Whilst these are still valid wills more often than not they will lead to errors in the law or the contents of the will and lead to further issues for family upon death meaning that money is lost on probate fees to correct the errors. Last year the Treasury gained £53 million from people who died intestate (without a will). The year before it was £76 million. Lucy Townsend, a journalist with the BBC, accidentally cut out all of her family through a home-made will pack from W H Smiths. Luckily Lucy realised before this became of importance.
The use of a solicitor in many cases can help eliminate the worries and fears that people have and can help them to make correct wills that can be put into place which adhere to all legal requirements. Solicitors are fully qualified to draft and complete wills and will be able to spot any issues before they arise and advise accordingly.
To make a will you must be over 18 and of sound mind. The will must be made voluntarily and not under duress and must be made in writing. You must sign the will in the presence of two witnesses who are both over 18 years of age and they must in turn sign in your presence.
Involving a solicitor will mean a meeting with a solicitor to discuss what assets you have and who you want to leave them too, any arrangements for children if this is applicable and any requests you have may be written into a will as well such as requests for your funeral. The solicitor will then ensure that a will is drafted to abide by legal requirements. The final document can usually then be kept in safe deeds storage by the solicitor.
It is recommended that you review your will once every 5 years for any major life changes that may need to be reflected in your will for example having a child, separating from or divorcing a partner. Marriage revokes a will entirely, unless the will was made in contemplation of that marriage.
Once your will has been signed and witnessed it cannot be officially changed but it can be edited using a codicil. This means an official amendment to your will. This will need to follow the same requirements as your original will, i.e. be witnessed.
Making a will can be a scary prospect but once you take that first step it can be made relatively simple for you. Should you or anyone you know be considering making a will and require some assistance help then please contact our Private Client Department at our Leicester office on 0116 2554855.