WILLS

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I DIE?

People often ask  "What happens to my money and property when I die?" Unless you make a will the law will decide who benefits under what is known as the Intestacy Rules.

However you can easily provide for your loved ones by MAKING A WILL.

A Will only takes effect upon death and can be changed at any time. In fact if you make a Will it may be prudent every two years or so (or sooner if necessary) to think about whether your circumstances or wishes have altered.

WHY MAKE A WILL?


Making a Will enables you to decide who will receive your money and property when you die.

This means that you can be sure that your wishes will be honoured. Otherwise it is not certain that your property will go to those you choose. You can make gifts of money or property to people or to charity and you can give specific possessions to people you care about.

In a Will you can appoint guardians and trustees for your young children and if you like, you can also direct the way that you want to be buried.

We can tell you about the various alternatives and then you make the final decision .

DOES MAKING A WILL STOP ME USING MY PROPERTY?


Generally the answer is no. You can do what you wish with your money and property and your will only takes effect on the property you have at the date of your death.

WHO MANAGES MY AFFAIRS WHEN I DIE?

You can appoint executors in your will who are responsible for what is known as  winding up your estate. Your executor has to pay your debts from your money, sell any property if necessary and then pay the balance as directed by you in the Will.

YOUR SOLICITORS can assist the executor in the formalities of winding up the estate.

WHO CAN BE AN EXECUTOR


We advise you of the most appropriate person to appoint for your own personal circumstances. If requested we may even be prepared to act as an executor for you if this is what you want.

EXECUTORS only begin acting after you die

HOW CAN I CHANGE MY WILL?

You can change your Will at any time, provided that you are mentally fit. This can be done by either making a Codicil (an addition to the Will) or, if you want to make a major change a new Will can be prepared by your Solicitor to replace the existing one.

You can change your Will as often as you like.

HOWEVER it is important to note that you must NEVER write on or alter your Will after it has been made as this could affect its validity. If you want to change your Will you should take advice from your Solicitor on the best way to do it.

WHAT IF MY MONEY OR PROPERTY CHANGES?


This need not be a problem. A Will takes effect from death and so can only apply to your money and property at that time.

There is no need to mention particular investments or property in your Will unless you especially want those to go to named persons.

WHERE DO I KEEP MY WILL?

You must keep your Will in a safe place so that it can be found if you die. You should let your executors or loved ones know where the Will is kept. Your Solicitor will have a safe and will usually be happy to hold the Will for you

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?


There is no set fee and the cost will vary depending on how complicated your wishes are. Alston Ashby will be happy to discuss their fees with you without obligation. If you are happy with the price an appointment can often be arranged there and then for you to discuss your requirements with us.

WHY DO IT NOW?


Many people feel that it is morbid to make a Will. They do not want to think about death and this is entirely understandable.

YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DIE BECAUSE YOU MAKE A WILL, but making a Will does give you peace of mind by knowing that you have made provision for those you care about in the future.

Making a Will is as easy as picking up your telephone and speaking to your Solicitor, who can then guide you quickly and painlessly through all the steps.

WHAT DO THE INTESTACY RULES SAY?

These are the legal rules which decide who will take your property if you do not make a Will.

Briefly this is what happens:

IF YOU LEAVE A SPOUSE or a registered civil partner  AND CHILDREN

  • Your spouse/civil partner  takes a statutory legacy of a specified amount (the limit of the legacy may change from time to time and your Solicitor can tell you the current figure) plus personal chattels
  • The remainder is divided with half going to your children on reaching the age of 18 and the remaining half is held for your spouse for life in trust (but your spouse will only get the income) and on his or her death it is taken by the children.

IF YOU LEAVE A SPOUSE or registered civil partner BUT NO CHILDREN AND ALSO HAVE PARENTS OR BROTHERS AND SISTERS of the whole blood

  • Your Spouse/registered civil partner  takes a statutory legacy up to a specified amount (the limit of this legacy may change from time to time and your Solicitor can tell you the current figure) plus personal chattels.
  • The remainder is divided with half going to your spouse and the remaining half is taken by your parents. If your parents are dead then your brothers and sisters of the whole blood or their children will take that half.

IF YOU ARE NOT MARRIED

If you are not married or with a registered civil partner, in general, the only way that your partner can receive any of your money or property is if you make a Will.