A staggering percentage of the population have not made a will and yet having an up-to-date will is one of the most efficient ways of ensuring that your assets are protected for your family and intended beneficiaries. A well drafted will can deal with complex situations, including the provision for the appointment of guardians for minor children, the distribution of assets between step-families and between the generations, and provisions for assets in multiple jurisdictions.
We also offer a personal tax planning service which involves advising you in relation to the most beneficial tax structures for private individuals and trusts, and implementing those structures where necessary. We are able to call on the offshore experience of our numerous contacts and colleagues to provide you with the best advice.
Who should make a will?
Anyone who has property and assets should make a Will. If you die without a Will, the law dictates what happens to your estate.
It is particularly important to make a will if you are not married or are not in a registered civil partnership (a legal arrangement that gives same-sex partners the same status as a married couple). This is because the law does not automatically recognise cohabitants (partners who live together) as having the same rights as husbands, wives and civil partners. As a result, even if you’ve lived together for many years, your cohabitant may be left with nothing if you have not made a will.
A will is also vital if you have children or dependants who may not be able to care for themselves. Without a will there could be uncertainty about who will look after or provide for them if you die.
You should also consider taking legal advice about making a will if:
- you have financial dependents and you have not made any provision for them
- you want to include a trust in your will (perhaps to provide for young children or a disabled person, save tax, or simply protect your assets in some way after you die)
- your permanent home is not in the UK or you are not a British citizen
- you live here but you have overseas property
- you own all or part of a business
If you do instruct us to make a will for you, we will ask you about your assets and liabilities, who you wish to leave your estate to (including whether you want to make any gifts to charities or friends), your personal circumstances including whether you are married, or in a civil partnership or cohabiting, whether you have children or other financial dependents, and whether you wish to appoint a guardian for young children. We will also ask you who would like to act as your executor (the person who administers your estate after your death)
Keeping your will up to date
You should review your will at least every five years and after any major life change such as separation, marriage, having children or divorce. You should also be aware that divorce, and the dissolution of a civil partnership invalidate a Will.