TOP 10 TIPS FOR
A PERFECT WILL
FOLLOW OUR 10 TOP TIPS TO ENSURE THAT ON YOUR DEATH,YOUR ESTATE PASSES TO BENEFICIARIES OF YOUR CHOICE.
1. MAKE THE TIME TO WRITE A WILL
Many of us never get round to making a will – it’s estimated that one in three people die without ever having made a will. Not having a will can cause problems and financial worry for your loved ones. Take the time to write a will and make provisions to meet the future financial needs of your loved ones.
2. A WILL IS FOR EVERYONE
If you die without a will – called dying intestate – the intestacy rules determine who inherits what, which means your loved ones could miss out and a large chunk of your estate could go to the taxman. If you live with a partner but are not married or in a civil partnership, and do not leave a will, then your assets will pass automatically to the closest blood relatives – often children, parents or siblings. Whether you are single, cohabiting, married or divorced, you need a will to ensure that your assets will be distributed in accordance with your wishes.
3. USE A PROFESSIONAL
Choose who draws up your will wisely.Seek professional legal advice and use a qualified and regulated solicitor covered by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. As well as ensuring your final wishes are met, solicitors can advise you on how to make the most of the available inheritance tax allowance and can assist you in establishing trusts to manage the deferral of any inheritance of any beneficiaries. Also, if the firm stops trading, you are automatically covered and your will will be transferred to another solicitor. Whilst DIY kits are available, the process is full of pitfalls and errors are easy to make which could result in your will being invalid, your beneficiaries being subject to large tax bills or your estate not being left to your chosen beneficiaries.
4. CHOOSE YOUR EXECUTORS WELL
Executors are responsible for exercising your estate in accordance with your instructions after you have died. It can be a demanding task and you should always ask people if they mind taking on this role. If you are married, you will probably want your spouse to be your executor, but don't appoint them as your sole executor. If you both died together then neither of you would have a living executor. Always appoint a default or substitute executor in the event that your spouse is unable to act on your behalf.
5. APPOINT GUARDIANS
Many people don’t make a will because they can’t agree what would happen to their children if both parents die. If you are the last living parent and you die leaving a child under age 18, a guardian will be appointed by the court if you haven’t made a will or haven’t said who this should be in your will. Appointing a guardian will ensure that your wishes are followed when it comes to your children.
Unmarried couples should make sure they appoint each other as guardians in their wills.
6. DECIDE WHO YOU WANT TO GET WHAT, AND WHEN
Planning who will inherit what and when, where children are concerned, helps prevent the many family feuds that follow a person’s death. By making it clear what your wishes are, you make it easier for those left behind to deal with the affects of your death.
7. ENSURE YOUR WILL IS SIGNED
To validate your will, you must have two independent witnesses, over the age of 18, watch you sign the will. They must also sign the will, though they don’t need to read it. As a beneficiary cannot legally benefit from a will they have witnessed, your witnesses should
always be people who will not inherit anything under the will. Any gift made in a will to a witness will be void, though it will not affect the validity of the rest of the will.
8. TAKE CARE OF YOUR WILL
Decide how to look after your will and let your executor know where it is. Always make sure your executor can get to your will without probate. Never store it in a bank safety deposit box as the bank can’t open the box until the executor gets probate (permission from the court to administer your affairs) and probate can’t be granted without the will. You can leave it with your
solicitor (you should also get a copy).
9. REVIEW YOUR WILL WHEN YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES CHANGE
If there is a change to your circumstances e.g. marriage, divorce, separation, children, a property or other expensive purchase, you should review your will, as changes to your circumstances can make all or part of your will invalid or inadequate.
10. LOOK OUT FOR THE WIQS QUALITY MARK
For complete peace of mind, use a solicitor that meets the highest standards of expertise and client service in wills and inheritance law. The Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS) is the recognised quality mark for legal experts in drafting wills and dealing with your estate after your death. Look out for this quality mark when searching for a solicitor. While we have made every effort to provide accurate information, the law is always changing and affects each person differently. This information is not a substitute for specific advice about your situation and we will not be liable to you if you rely on this information.
© The Law Society 2015. All rights reserved.
USE A PROFESSIONAL. USE A SOLICITOR.
Visit www.useaprofessional.co.uk/wills for further information, or use the Law Society’s Find a Solicitor service
www.lawsociety.org.uk/findasolicitor to search a database of more than 140,000 solicitors
Roger Crouch is the head of the private client department at Calvert Smith and Sutcliffe in Richmond.
After initially working for law firms in Somerset, Roger returned to London in 2008 to develop his legal career.
Roger has over ten years’ experience in dealing with private client matters for individuals from a wide range of backgrounds in a discreet, efficient and empathetic manner.
Roger deals with the preparation of Wills, estate administration (probate), the creation and administration of trusts, powers of
attorney, tax planning, Court of Protection applications, and advice to the elderly. He has particular expertise in resolving complex and
sensitive matters including estates with assets overseas.
Member of the Law Society, Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, Solicitors for the Elderly, and the Charity Law Association.
He has also been a member of the Liberal Democrats since 1994 and is pleased that Richmond once again is represented in Parliament by a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament!
Calvert Smith & Sutcliffe
9 The Green
Richmond TW9 1PU
Email : [email protected]
Telephone : 020 8940 0017
Calculation of Professional Fees
Our current charges for Wills (to include an initial meeting to take your instructions, the preparation of a draft Will for your approval, minor amendments to the draft and a final meeting with a member of staff to supervise the execution of the document) are as follows:
1. Straightforward Will £200.00 + VAT
2. Will containing trusts (starting from) £250.00 + VAT
3. Simple Codicil £75.00 + VAT
Our current charges for Letters of Wishes, Guardianship Directions, General Powers of Attorney, Advance Directives and Notices of Severance start from £100 plus VAT per document.
The costs of making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) through Calvert Smith & Sutcliffe are as follows:
One Person One LPA (Financial or Health & Care) £450 + Vat
One Person Two LPA’s (Financial and Health & Care) £750 + Vat
A Couple One LPA Each (Financial or Health & Care) £750 + Vat
A Couple Two LPA’s Each (Financial and Health & Care) £1,500 + Vat
£110 court registration fee per LPA or £55 if your gross annual income is less than £12,000. (This fee will be reduced to £82 per document from 1st April 2017). If for any reason the matter is particularly time-consuming, complicated or there is a substantial change in instructions necessitating a major redraft we will charge extra at our discretion at our current hourly rate. If we have to visit you at home there will also be an additional fee to cover the time spent travelling to and from the office.
Once we have taken your instructions and the document is drafted we reserve the right to charge the agreed figure even if you do not proceed to execution of the document. There are certain circumstances in which we may be entitled to exercise a lien for unpaid costs.
Roger Crouch will be dealing with this matter on your behalf and his current hourly rate is £240 plus VAT.
With regard to Wills we wish to confirm that the document will be drafted on the basis:
1. of information given to us by you;
2. in accordance with the tax rules in force at the date the Will is submitted to you; and
3. on the understanding that our instructions are simply to prepare a Will and that there are no continuing obligations on our part in relation to it as a result of alterations to your circumstances or to the tax regime.
You are advised to watch for any annual Budget changes to tax legislation affecting Wills and generally to consider reviewing your Will every time a significant change occurs to your circumstances. If in doubt please call us.
In particular remember:
1. The effect of marriage / a civil partnership is to revoke an existing Will.
2. The effect of divorce / dissolution of a civil partnership is not to revoke an existing Will.
The Liberal Democrat Legacy Fund
Leave a gift in your will to the Hazel Grove Liberal Democrats
“Look to the future and help protect the values which you and I share by considering leaving a gift in your will to the Liberal Democrats.”
Sal Brinton, President of Liberal Democrats
The need to stand up for liberal values is greater than ever. A gift in your will means that we will be able to continue to make your liberal voice heard.
How to leave a gift to the Liberal Democrats
It is simple to leave a gift in your will to the Hazel Grove Liberal Democrats. You can leave a percentage or a fixed sum, your will is entirely personal to you and it should fit within your own personal circumstances.
‘I leave [……………] to The Hazel Grove Liberal Democrats Limited, (address) and I direct that the receipt of any Director or the Secretary shall be a full and sufficient discharge of such a gift.’
Please always consult with a solicitor who will be able to advise you on how best to do this.
Do remember that
- A gift in your will to the Hazel Grove Liberal Democrats will be tax efficient, as gifts to a recognised political party are deducted from your estate before inheritance tax is calculated.
- If you have an existing will this can be amended to include a gift to the Haringey Liberal Democrats by using a Codicil
For more information and a confidential discussion of your wishes, please contact Liz Pearman on 0207 227 1219 or [email protected]