Have You Made Your Will?

Brenda Smyth, a Solicitor with AMD Solicitors, considers the need to make a Will and review it on a regular basis

Making a Will is a sensible precaution to ensure that in the event of your death your estate is distributed as you would wish and to avoid difficulties and worries for your loved ones left behind at a time when they are having to cope with a bereavement.

If you die without having made a Will, you will die intestate and your estate will be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy. This may mean that the people who inherit your estate may not be the people you would wish to benefit. Remember that if you do not make a Will, your friends and favoured charities cannot benefit from your estate and any children who benefit will receive their inheritance as soon as they reach 18. If you are living with a partner as an unmarried couple, your partner may not benefit from your estate unless you provide for him or her in your Will.

Although it is possible to write your own Will, mistakes can invalidate the Will or ambiguities in the drafting can lead to costly disputes that may not only cause lengthy delays in administering the estate but, even worse, may mean your estate does not go to your intended beneficiaries. Also, Wills drawn up without reference to taxation may result in an unexpected or large tax liability.

Some people may delay making a Will because they do not want to contemplate their own death and writing a Will may feel so final. However, remember that although a Will is described as a “Last Will and Testament”, it only takes effect on your death so you are free to alter it at any time whilst you have the mental capacity to do so.

Even if you have already made your Will, the provisions should be reviewed on a regular basis to take into account changes in your circumstances or in those of beneficiaries. Some examples of when your Will may need updating are:

-your financial circumstances change for better or worse

-on your marriage, divorce or separation

-starting to live with a partner

-having children or grandchildren

-an intended beneficiary dies before you

-you wish to increase legacies to take into account the effects of inflation

-you or your partner go into residential care

-a beneficiary has debt or marriage problems or is claiming means tested benefit

-a beneficiary is not mentally capable of handling his or her own assets

-tax law changes

For further advice on writing a Will or reviewing an existing one or for advice on the administration of estates, Lasting Powers of Attorney and other private client matters, contact Brenda Smyth or one of her colleagues at AMD Solicitors 100 Henleaze Road, Bristol BS9 4JZ, Phone 0117 962 1205, email info@amdsolciitors.com or visit our website https://amdsolicitors.com.

This article is provided for general information purposes only and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at the date of uploading. This article should not be relied upon as legal advice pertaining to any specific factual situation. Legal decisions should be made only after proper consultation with a legal professional of your choosing.

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