A Will ensures that your assets will pass to those you wish to inherit. Under a Will you choose people you trust to administer your estate (your Executors), they will be responsible for ensuring your beneficiaries receive their inheritance.
If you do not make a Will then the Rules of Intestacy will apply to your estate on your death. This may mean that those you would have wished to inherit may miss out, whilst people you would not wish to benefit do inherit from your estate.
If you already have a Will, it is important to make sure it still reflects your wishes. Circumstances and relationships change so it is best to think about your Will every few years, and in particular:
- If you are getting married or divorced (marriage revokes your Will unless made specifically in contemplation of that marriage. In the case of divorce, your ex-husband or wife is treated as having predeceased you for the purpose of your Will, but only once the Decree Absolute has been granted).
- If you co-habit with your partner
In order to advise you accurately, at our initial meeting we will need to establish the following:
- Your personal situation; your family and any dependants/possible claimants against your estate
- Your assets (we do not usually need detailed figures, just an approximate overview) and how you own them (for example jointly, sole name), and your debts, for example mortgages, loans etc
- Who you would like to appoint as your Executors
- If you have any children under the age of 18 years, who you wish to appoint as Guardians
- How you would like your estate to be shared between beneficiaries and whether any trusts will be necessary
We will then produce a draft Will for discussion.
Once your Will is complete, we will register the details with Will Certainty. https://www.nationalwillregister.co.uk/aboutwillregistration.aspx
Will Certainty does not need to see a copy of your Will to register it. Registration records the existence and tags the location of your Will on Certainty the National Will Register, so that the people you have left your estate to, or those you have chosen to be your executors, can find it when you have passed away. Registration ensures that if beneficiaries and executors are unaware that you have written a Will or forget where it’s located, it can be easily found by conducting a Register Will Search.
The existence of your Will and its location are confidential. Only when you have passed away can your Will’s location be declared. Even then, it will be disclosed only when the person searching for your Will has a genuine, bona fide interest and that person can provide a copy of your death certificate.