A Will is a document that is your last and final testimony as to how you would like your estate to be distributed after your death. People who die without a Will die ‘intestate,’ which means their children are at risk, let alone their property, which will not be administered as they would have wished. It is therefore a key document and needs to be drawn up by someone qualified to do so.
Laws of Intestacy
If you fail to draft a Will upon your death your estate will be inherited by the State and distributed under the Laws of Intestacy found under the Administration of Estates Act 1925. This has serious consequences for your family in the event you pass without a Will such as if you have a partner he or she will not inherit.
Writing a Will is not compulsory and can be drawn by you providing certain requirements are met, but in the event of your untimely death it can help your family, or your other preferred executors to divide your Estate in accordance to you wishes and rather than people whom you may not necessarily trust with the division of your wealth.
Impact on family if you die 'Intestate'
if you die without a will (intestate), the impact on your children under the age of majority will be significant if there is not will identifying their guardians. The State will remove your children. Family members do not acquire automatic guardianship and will have to go through the courts in lengthy court proceedings before they are able to secure their custody.
Who needs a Will?
Two thirds of the entire population die without leaving Wills in the UK. Having regard to the consequences of not leaving a Will, it follows that you should consider drawing a Will particularly if you have children and businesses, or if you civil partnership is unregistered or you are unmarried.
Legal Requirements of a Will
In order for a Will to be valid it is important certain requirements are met, failure to do so will invalidate a Will. Some of the requirements are as follows:
- Age – as you cannot draw a Will whilst you are under 18;
- A Will cannot be drawn under duress;
- You must understand it in its entirety;
- A Will must be in writing;
- It must be signed and dated.
- Signed in the presence of two witnesses;
- Witnesses must be of sound mind and age.
If a Will is made and any of these requirements are not met it will not be legally valid and upon your death your estate will be shared according to intestacy rules and not with the intentions of your will.
Wills Review and Writing Service
The legal rules of validity of a Will are not always straightforward, we at Merchiston Solicitors run a Wills review service where we are able to review a Will you already have. You have to keep in mind that a valid Will can become invalid due to marriage or divorce, or new children born into the family. It is therefore important that you ensure that you do take advice and review your Will so that adjustments can be made if necessary.
When drafting a new Will we will customise your Will to your circumstances and consider which type of Will is most appropriate for you as there are different types of Wills each covering different anticipated predicaments. For instance, single Wills caters for one person whereas a mirror Will is drawn for couples, who married and may have identical or mirror wishes. Discretionary Wills on the other hands are suitable for those who lack capacity or are in severe financial debt.
Contact Wills Solicitors, London
For more information on our Wills Writing Service contact our dedicated team for an informal discussion about your requirements. Call 0203 540 6340 to speak to one of solicitors. Alternatively, email us on email@example.com or complete our online enquiry form.