Making a Will
With one of the largest Wills, Trusts and Probate teams in the region, we prepare a significant number of Wills annually, helping our clients to plan for the future, save tax and preserve assets for their families.
Many of our team members are accredited by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and Solicitors for the Elderly or are working towards these prestigious accreditations. A number of our Solicitors specialise in niche areas, with a bias towards agricultural assets, incapacitated clients and contentious Wills and estates.
As such, our Solicitors and wealth management advisors focus on getting an in-depth understanding of their client's family situation and their requirements in order to provide the very best advice in making a Will and to minimise any tax liabilities through the inheritance process.
Our experience in succession planning not only covers family matters and family wealth but also extends to commercial interests and how family business ownership is best protected.
It is important to review a Will regularly when the ownership of assets change or where family events cause you to consider new chosen heirs. This can follow the birth of a grandchild, a breakdown in a family relationship or simply a wish to include a new beneficiary.
To find out more about writing a Will or updating your existing Will, please contact your local Chattertons office in Boston, Grantham, Horncastle, Lincoln, London, Newark, Sleaford, Spalding or Stamford.
Clients often ask us…
Do I need a Will?
Many people put off making a Will, feeling that they do not need one or that they will get around to making one later. However, if you were to pass away without making a Will, it can make it much harder for your loved ones to deal with your estate, and could result in your estate passing to the people you would not have intended.
Writing a Will does not need to take a lot of time or be overly complicated or expensive, so if you do not currently have a Will, we recommend speaking to a member of our team as soon as possible.
What should I include in my Will?
This will depend on your circumstances, but generally assets you should consider when making a Will include:
- Your home
- Pension income
- Shares and other investments
- Business interests
- Intellectual property
- Cars and other vehicles
- Other personal possessions
You may also want to consider incorporating a trust into your Will to provide for, for example, any dependants, those in receipt of means tested benefits or children under 18, that you have.
How do I make sure my Will is legal?
For your Will to be legal, the following must apply:
- At the time of making the Will, you must be:
- 18 or over
- Of sound mind
- Your Will must be:
- In writing
- Signed by you in the presence of two independent witnesses (who must both be 18 or over and not beneficiaries of your Will)
- Signed by your two witnesses in your presence
You should also include the date your Will was signed, as this can help to avoid any dispute over which is the most up-to-date version of your Will in future.
Who should be the Executor of my Will?
It is advisable to name at least two Executors in case one of them is unable to carry out the role when the time comes. If you name more than one Executor, they will need to work together to execute your Will when you pass away, so this is worth considering when choosing how many Executors to name and who to have as an Executor.
If there is nobody you can name as your Executor, or you want the reassurance of a professional handling your estate, you can name Chattertons Trustee Corporation Limited as one of your Executors or the sole Executor.
Where should I store my Will?
It is important to make sure your Will can be easily accessed when it is needed. We are happy to store your original Will.
It is important to keep a copy of your Will at home, especially if the original Will is not stored securely.
How often should I update my Will?
It is a good idea to review your Will at least every five years, as well as after any major changes in your personal circumstances, for example having a child, moving home, getting divorced or if one of your Executors dies.
It is important to be aware that if you get married, this will automatically make any existing Will that you have invalid, unless the Will was specifically drafted in anticipation of the marriage.
Can I amend my existing Will or do I need to make a new Will?
If you need to make a small adjustment to your Will, you can do so by creating a separate document called a codicil that modifies your Will. A codicil will need to be signed and witnessed in the same way as your original Will for it to be legally binding.
For more substantial amendments, such as changing who you want to inherit your home or other high value assets, you will usually need to make a new Will.
Our team will be happy to advise you on the best way to amend your Will, including where a new Will is required. We can then prepare a codicil or new Will to meet your needs and ensure all of the necessary legal steps are carried out.
Can my Will be challenged after my death?
If you have a legally sound Will, it significantly reduces the likelihood of your Will being successfully challenged after you pass away. However, there are some circumstances where your Will could potentially be challenged including:
- If someone believes an out-of-date or fraudulent version of your Will is being used
- If someone believes your Will was made under pressure from a third party, when you were not of sound mind or under other circumstances that could make the Will invalid
- If a dependant, such as a child, believes your Will does not make ‘reasonable provision’ for them, they may be able to make a claim against your estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
Making sure your Will meets all of the legal requirements and that it is securely stored is a good way to remove any room for dispute over your intentions. Discussing the contents of your Will with anyone you intend to leave a bequest to and anyone who might normally expect to inherit can also reduce the likelihood of a legal challenge after you are gone.
Explore our other lifetime planning services
To find out more about the various lifetime planning services we provide, please visit one of the following pages:
- Probate and Administration of Estates
- Powers of Attorney
- Court of Protection
- Care Home Fees
- Inheritance Tax Planning
- Contesting a Will
- Selling Property
- Property Gifts and Transfers
- Wealth Management
Contact us today
To discuss making or updating a Will with our friendly, experienced Will solicitors in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and London, please contact your local Chattertons office in Boston, Grantham, Horncastle, Lincoln, London, Newark, Sleaford, Spalding or Stamford.