Our Take Five Guides throw out the jargon and provide you with concise legal advice direct from our lawyers, in five simple steps.
A Will is a legal document that allows you to set out your wishes for the distribution of your property and money, and care of any children under the age of 18. You can also use a Will to set up a trust, which will help manage your assets for the future.
Making a Will gives certainty over who will inherit your estate or look after your children should anything happen to you. If you don’t have a Will, you won’t have an executor to administer your estate either. All of this can cause family arguments which could be avoided by having a Will. You can also make plans to leave your estate in the most tax-efficient way by having a Will.
In your Will, you will appoint executors, who are the people responsible for administering your estate. This should be someone you trust as they will need to act on your wishes, keep accurate accounts, pay any due debts and taxes and ultimately distribute the balance of your estate.
You can make a valid Will yourself, but there are various reasons why this is not encouraged ranging from the Will not carrying out your wishes, to it not being signed correctly and therefore not being valid. Taking legal advice about a Will can help you to achieve peace of mind about the best outcome for you, your family and your business. You can also ask about the possibility of someone challenging your will to help you decide if your wishes are likely to be overturned and if so, what you can do about it.
If you don’t have a Will, or if your Will isn’t legally valid, then Intestacy Rules apply, which lay down who should receive what from your estate. Intestacy Rules do not provide for people who aren’t married or in a civil partnership, friends or charities.
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You can download a PDF version of this guide.