FAQs on writing a Will

FAQs on writing a Will

Would my husband/wife inherit everything if I don’t have a Will?

It’s not true that your spouse would inherit everything if you don’t have a Will. Your spouse or civil partner would inherit the first £270,000. If your estate is worth more than £270,000, the excess amount is split 50/50 – your spouse would get half of the excess and the other half would go to your children. Each child would inherit an equal share, which may not be what you want.

I’m in a civil partnership – do I need a Will?

Civil partners are treated the same as married couples as far as inheritance is concerned. Your civil partner would inherit the first £270,000 of your estate, with any excess being split 50/50 between the civil partner on the one hand and children if you don’t have a Will.

I don’t have much money - do I really need a Will?

If you don’t have much in the way of assets, but you do have children, that’s a very good reason to get a Will. It’s the only way of nominating guardians in the event that both parents die in an accident, for example. If you don’t have children, you may still wish to leave small legacies to close friends, favourite family members, or charities.

Do I need a Will to leave money to stepchildren?

Yes. Stepchildren aren’t recognised under the laws of intestacy so they wouldn’t benefit from your estate if you don’t have a Will.

Can a Will help me avoid inheritance tax?

Considering the implications for inheritance tax is part of our professional Will-writing service. As part of our process, we’ll discuss your estate and work out the inheritance tax implications for the future. We’ll explain how you can make the most of all the available inheritance tax allowances.

I’m getting married - should I wait before writing a Will?

There’s no need. You can make a Will now that will remain in force after the ceremony. The sooner you make a Will, the better, because you never know what’s around the corner. If you’re planning on getting married, you’ll probably want your spouse to benefit if anything unfortunate happened to you before you got hitched.

Can I ensure that children from a previous relationship are provided for?

Yes. The risk of not planning properly is that your new partner could fall out with your children after your death. We can help you ensure this doesn’t happen by talking you through the suitable legacy-planning options.

I’m getting divorced – can I write my spouse out of my Will?

Yes, and you should change your Will as soon as possible if you don’t wish your spouse to benefit. If your spouse is named as a beneficiary in your existing will, they would still benefit if you died before the divorce was finalised.

If I make a Will now, can I change it in the future?

Of course, but we’d probably need to write a new Will and get it witnessed. It is good practice to revisit your Will every few years in any case.

Where should I keep my Will?

Some people keep their Wills at home – we recommend storing them in a fire-proof safe. But many of our customers prefer us to store them securely on their behalf.

Can I leave my pet dog or cat to a friend in my Will?

Yes. You can also include a gift of money and instructions so that your beloved pet will be properly looked after, just as you would have looked after it yourself.

Can I include a reserve beneficiary in case my chosen beneficiary dies before me?

Yes, we recommend you name at least one reserve beneficiary in your will for this very reason.

Should I name guardians for my children in my Will?

If you have children under the age of 18, yes you should name guardians. They would only act if both parents have passed away while your children are still under 18. We can help you make an appropriate gift in your Will, ensuring that your children will be provided for.

Can I leave money to charity in my Will?

Yes of course. In fact, if you leave 10% of your estate to charity, your inheritance tax liability will be cut from 40% to 35%.

Is a Lasting Power of Attorney the same as a Will?

No – it’s recommended that you get both. Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are “living wills” that apply only while you’re still alive. They give trusted individuals called “attorneys” the power to act on your behalf if you’re unable to. There are two types: property and financial affairs, and health and welfare. Attorneys, who must be over the age of 18, are legally permitted to withdraw money from your bank account for specific purposes, such as paying for food or energy bills. With a health and welfare LPA, they can also make medical decisions on your behalf. Lasting Powers of Attorney can only be obtained while someone still has mental capacity, so it’s important to get them as soon as possible.

I’ve heard about Trusts. Do I need a Trust as well as a Will?

We’re happy to explain Trusts – and their benefits – in the initial meeting. For many people, having a Trust will be beneficial. But we’d need to know more about your circumstances before we can advise on whether you need a Trust, and what kind.

What happens if my beneficiaries inherit while they’re under 18?

The money or personal possessions you want them to inherit will be held “on trust” until they reach the age of 18. Your executors will have to look after the assets until that time.

What if I don’t know many enough people to act as my executors?

We recommend that you name at least two executors in your Will, who will carry out your instructions. If you don’t know enough people, you can name Maplebrook Wills to act as a professional executor when the time comes.

Can I leave my estate to my partner if we’re not married?

Yes, and it’s especially important to write a Will if you live with someone but you’re not married or in a civil partnership. Otherwise, your partner would not inherit your estate if you passed away.

I can’t afford a Will right now. What would you suggest?

We believe it’s important to act as soon as possible. If you can’t afford to pay the full cost of a Will up front, we can help you by spreading the cost over several months.

How can I safeguard my estate against being depleted by care fees?

If your estate is worth more than £23,250, you won’t be entitled to financial assistance from your local council to pay for care fees. With the cost of live-in nursing care exceeding £1,200 per week in many parts of the country, assets can be very quickly depleted. We can discuss strategies to protect your assets from being assessed for care fees.

Can I write my own Will?

Yes, you can write your own Will, but how do you know you’ll get it right? Mistakes could prove very expensive. It’s better to get a bespoke Will written by a professional, to ensure that your family won’t have to cope with unpleasant surprises in future.

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