Why are Wills important?

It’s important to make your own will, and we at Ascroft Whiteside can help and support you through your journey of creating one. Here are some reasons for why it is important to have a will –

•    Making a Will ensures that your wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are provided for after your death.
•    Dying without a Will could result in your family suffering from legal problems as well as trying to cope with the loss of a loved one.
•    If you die without a Will the laws of intestacy determine who will inherit your money and property, meaning that it may not go to the person you want it to.
•    A lot of married people automatically assume that their possessions would go to their partner, but this is not always the case and in some circumstances could be left with nothing.
•    If you have children it is especially important to make a will so you can appoint legal guardians in the event of your death.

What do I need to know about making a Will?

•    You can write your own will but it is important to get legal advice and to set up a meeting with a solicitor to take you through what you need to know, as well as making sure that your will is interpreted the way you want it to be.
•    You also need to get your will formally signed and witnessed in order to make it legally valid.
•    Think about who you want to make a benefactor and whether you want to give a gift to an organisation or charity.
•    It is important to think about who you want to look after your estate and carry out your wishes after your death as well as what you would want to happen if the benefactor you have chosen dies before you do.
•    Sometimes complexities of life make wills not as straightforward and this is when you need legal advice to help make your wishes clear.
•    It is important that you keep your will safe and that the person who you want to carry out your wishes knows where it is kept.
•    It is important to review your will every five years or after any major life changes such as divorce or getting married.
•    If you want to make an alteration to your will, you have to do this through something called a codicil, and again this must be witnessed and signed.
•    If you need to make major changes to your will you need to make a new will outlining why you have revoked the previous will in order to cancel it along with your new wishes.

If you need our help writing or updating your will, get in touch with us via our website or call 01253 766866

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Where there’s a will…

When dealing with a Probate, we often heave a sigh of relief when we see that the person created a Will.

Usually, the Will clearly sets out who the deceased wanted to have as their Executors (people responsible for dealing with their estate) and who they wanted as their beneficiaries

However, we’re coming across more estates where there is either an outdated will or a ‘Do It Yourself’ Will and there are issues with both.

Outdated wills

When you create a Will, you tend to do so based on your current circumstances which is good- we advise our clients to tell us what they would want to happen to their estate should they pass away the next day! But, it’s also important to consider the future. You might choose to leave everything to one person, but if that person predeceased you and your will doesn’t specify a substitute beneficiary then your estate will pass via the intestacy rules. This may mean it’s distributed to people you wouldn’t have chosen or it is given to the Government if you have no surviving relatives. It can be morbid to consider the ‘what if?’ dilemmas, but it will provide you with peace of mind knowing you have included a back up.

Another way a Will can be outdated is if you name a spouse who you then go on to divorce. Once a Decree Absolute is granted your spouse is treated as having pre-deceased you, so any reference to them in your Will is invalid. Similarly, if you create a Will and then enter marriage or a civil partnership this revokes any Wills previously made. As a rule of thumb, you should consider reviewing your Will after a life event and every 5 years.

DIY wills

Sometimes these estates are dealt with easily and without issue. However, we have encountered Wills where the wording has caused confusion and ambiguous interpretations. We have also dealt with Wills where the layout has not been accepted by the Probate Registry meaning additional documents have then had to be produced to prove the validity of the will.

Conclusion
This is just a brief introduction to the some of the problems encountered when dealing with Wills and estates. Hopefully, you will agree that it is important to create a will and seek legal advice from an experienced solicitor when doing so.

If you would like to create a Will or review your existing one, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

 

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Will Aid At Ascroft Whiteside 2014

Firstly, let me ask you a couple of questions:

1) Do you need to make a Will/update your Will?
2) Do you want to benefit a charity but leave all your assets to your loved ones?
3) Have you got a couple of hours to spare in November?

If you have answered yes to the above, then it’s time for you to make an appointment with us during Will Aid!

Will Aid at Ascroft Whiteside 2014

During the month of November, you can make a Will with a solicitor partaking in the scheme and rather than pay your solicitors fee you make a donation to Will Aid which in turns benefits 9 UK and global based charities. The charities range from NSPCC to British Red Cross, with the full list at willaid.org.uk.

On average you will have 2 appointments to make your Will. The initial appointment at which your instructions are taken and the second at which the Will is signed and witnessed and therefore becomes effective. The suggested donations for this year’s scheme are £95 for a basic single will and £150 for a pair of basic ‘mirror’ wills.

Appointments for Will Aid get taken very quickly so if you wish to take advantage of the scheme, please contact myself or one of my colleagues on 01253 76686.

Last Year Will Aid at Ascroft Whiteside 2014Last year Ascroft Whiteside raised £2426.25 and together I would love for us to beat that!

Scarlett Stephens - Ascroft Whiteside Solicitors

A blog post by Scarlett Stephens
Trainee solicitor

 

Outdated & DIY Wills

Scarlett Stephens - Ascroft Whiteside Solicitors

Scarlett Stephens – Trainee Solicitor, Probate department, at Ascroft Whiteside solicitors.

When dealing with a Probate, I often heave a sigh of relief when I see that the person created a Will. Usually, the Will clearly sets out who the deceased wanted to have as their Executors (people responsible for dealing with their estate) and who they wanted as their beneficiaries

However, I’m coming across more estates where there is either an outdated will or a ‘Do It Yourself’ Will and I have issues with both.

Outdated wills

When you create a Will, you tend to do so based on your current circumstances which is good- I advise my clients to tell me what they would want to happen to their estate should they pass away the next day! But, it’s also important to consider the future. You might choose to leave everything to one person, but if that person predeceased you and your will doesn’t specify a substitute beneficiary then your estate will pass via the intestacy rules. This may mean it’s distributed to people you wouldn’t have chose or it is given to the Government if you have no surviving relatives. It can be morbid to consider the ‘what if?’ dilemmas, but it will provide you with peace of mind knowing you have included a back up.

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Another way a Will can be outdated is if you name a spouse who you then go onto divorce. Once a Decree Absolute is granted your spouse is treated as having pre-deceased you, so any reference to them in your Will is invalid. Similarly, if you create a Will and then enter marriage or a civil partnership this revokes any Wills previously made. As a rule of thumb, you should consider reviewing your Will after a life event and every 5 years.

DIY wills

I have also encountered a number of homemade Wills during my time dealing with probates. Sometimes these estates are dealt with easily and without issue. However, I have encountered Wills where the wording has caused confusion and ambiguous interpretations. I’ve also dealt with Wills where the layout has not been accepted by the Probate Registry meaning additional documents have then had to be produced to prove the validity of the will.

Conclusion
This has only been a brief introduction into the some of the problems encountered when dealing with Wills and estates. Hopefully, you will agree that it is important to create a will and seek legal advice from an experienced solicitor when doing so.

If you would like to create a Will or review your existing one, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Where there’s a ‘will’ there’s a way

November was a busy month for Ascroft Whiteside as we took part in Will Aid. This is a nationwide charity event that happens every year and means a client can make a will or codicil without having to pay the usual solicitor’s fees.

 

Will Aid Pen Logo

Click the Will Aid logo above to visit their website

How does it work?

During November you book an appointment with a solicitor taking part in the scheme. As with normal Wills, they will guide you through the type of provisions that should be included within a Will. They will explain all legal terminology and ensure you know what is happening to your loved ones and property upon your death.

Instead of paying the usual solicitor’s fees, you make a donation to Will Aid which is then split between 10 charities based both in the UK and globally. Will Aid recommend a fee of £90 including VAT for a single will and £135 including VAT for mirror wills, but as this is a recommendation you can increase or reduce your donation accordingly. The only criteria set by Will Aid is that the Will should be fairly basic, which most Wills tend to be.

Who benefits?

Firstly, the client gets a Will and more importantly peace of mind about their loved ones and property upon death. Will Aid generates a lot of money for the 10 charities during the month, last year Ascroft Whiteside raised £1662.50 for Will Aid and have had another successful ‘Will Aid Month’ this year. Finally, we get to meet lots of new clients who we hope will return to use our services in the future.

Why are Wills important?

Even though Will Aid is over it is still important to make your own will, and we at Ascroft Whiteside can help and support you through your journey of creating one. Here are some reasons for why it is important to have a will –
•    Making a Will ensures that your wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are provided for after your death.
•    Dying without a Will could result in your family suffering from legal problems as well as trying to cope with the loss of a loved one.
•    If you die without a Will the laws of intestacy determine who will inherit your money and property, meaning that it may not go to the person you want it to.
•    A lot of married people automatically assume that their possessions would go to their partner, but this is not always the case and in some circumstances could be left with nothing.
•    If you have children it is especially important to make a will so you can appoint legal guardians in the event of your death.

What do I need to know about making a Will?

•    You can write your own will but it is important to get legal advice and to set up a meeting with a solicitor to take you through what you need to know, as well as making sure that your will is interpreted the way you want it to be.
•    You also need to get your will formally signed and witnessed in order to make it legally valid.
•    Think about who you want to make a benefactor and whether you want to give a gift to an organisation or charity.
•    It is important to think about who you want to look after your estate and carry out your wishes after your death as well as what you would want to happen if the benefactor you have chosen dies before you do.
•    Sometimes complexities of life make wills not as straightforward and this is when you need legal advice to help make your wishes clear.
•    It is important that you keep your will safe and that the person who you want to carry out your wishes knows where it is kept.
•    It is important to review your will every five years or after any major life changes such as divorce or getting married.
•    If you want to make an alteration to your will, you have to do this through something called a codicil, and again this must be witnessed and signed.
•    If you need to make major changes to your will you need to make a new will outlining why you have revoked the previous will in order to cancel it along with your new wishes.

Will Aid Website

We love that caption “This November a good solicitor will write your will and ask only for a donation to charity” Click the image above to see the Will Aid website.