Wills Lawyers Malton, York & Wetherby
Making a Will allows you to safeguard the interest of your family for the future. Doing so ensures that your wishes will be respected when it comes to deciding who will inherit your money, property and other possessions. However, making a Will also offers a host of other benefits. Whatever stage of your life you're at, the private client solicitors at Pearsons & Ward can support you to put your affairs in order.
Why should I make a Will?
Writing a Will puts you control of deciding what will happen to your assets when you die. A Will also allows you to:
- Reduce stress and anxiety for loved ones by explicitly setting out your wishes
- Minimise the chance of disputes arising about what you would have wanted
- Appoint a guardian for your children or vulnerable family members
- Set out your funeral requests
- Appoint an executor to deal with your estate
- Identify charities and other causes that you would like to support through your estate
- Undertake financial planning, including reducing your liability for Inheritance Tax and setting up trusts
- Have the peace of mind of knowing that your assets will be handled in line with your wishes
What happens if I don’t make a Will?
If you die without making a Will your estate will be distributed under the law, not in line with your wishes. This is known as dying intestate. In these circumstances, default rules called intestacy rules are used to decide who should get what.
This can have severe consequences for certain classes of prospective beneficiaries. For example, unmarried partners and close friends cannot inherit under the intestacy rules. If you have no surviving relatives, your estate will pass to the crown rather than people or causes that you care about.
What are the requirements for a valid Will?
For a Will to be valid, there are specific requirements. A Will must be:
- Made by a person who is at least 18 years of age;
- Made voluntarily without pressure from another person;
- Created by a person of sound mind – they must be aware of the nature of the document, the property listed in it and be able to identify the beneficiaries;
- In writing;
- Signed by the person making the Will in the presence of two witnesses; and
- Signed by the witnesses in the presence of the person making the Will.
When should I review or update my Will?
It is a good idea to review your Will every five years, or after any substantial changes in your life. Examples might include if you get divorced, have a child or move house.
You can't simply amend your Will if it has been signed and witnessed. You'll need to make an official alteration, known as a codicil. A codicil must be signed and witnessed in the same way as the Will itself. For significant changes, you should make a new Will.