Solicitor Q&A For Dying Matters week we’re asking the big question, "Are we ready"? Questions about how prepared we are for dying covers all areas: emotional, spiritual and also practical. We spoke to Jordan from Pothecary Witham Weld Solicitors to answer some FAQs about making a Will. Do I need to write a Will? Read more Yes, you do need to make a Will, because if you die intestate (meaning with no valid Will in England or Wales) the law will decide who gets what. If you do not have any surviving/living family members, all your property and possessions, including your pets, will go to the state. What are the different types of Will? Read more The different types of Will are: 1. A Simple Will. You can make a simple Will whether you are married, in a civil partnership or single. A basic simple Will allows you to: • Name who you want to deal with your Will after your death, these individuals will be known as the Executors; • Give details regarding specific items you wish to be passed on; • Give details of any specific sums of money you wish to leave to individuals or charities; • Name who you would want to look after your children, should you have any under the age of 18; • Name the individuals and/or charities you want to leave your estate to when you die and how you wish to split your estate amongst them, if more than one individual or charity. 2. Mirror Wills. A couple can make mirror Wills leaving their estates to the same individuals or charities. 3. A Tax Planning Will. This type of Will usually will include a trust such as a discretionary trust or a life interest trust. Trusts are often used in Wills to save inheritance tax or protect assets. How do I know what kind of Will I need? Read more A good place to start would be to sit down and make a list of everything you own, whether that is property/ies, bank accounts, shares, life insurance policies, pensions, jewellery and pets. Once you have a list of everything in your possession make an appointment to see a solicitor to discuss the best way of dealing with your estate on your death and ensuring your loved ones are looked after. The solicitor will advise you what type of Will you need. How long is the process? Read more If, the individual requesting an urgent Will under the Trinity Will Scheme we will look to complete the Will on the same day as having taken the instructions. Usually the process will take two to three weeks from taking the instructions to completion of the Will. How expensive is the process? Read more The cost of your Will is entirely dependant upon the kind of Will you are looking for to suit your individual needs. We provide the following Wills: • Simple Will - £350 plus VAT; • Mirror Wills - £525 plus VAT; • Tax Planning Will - £575 plus VAT; with Trinity’s Will scheme you can get this service for free. What happens if I die before I make my Will? Read more If you die before making a valid Will, your estate will be governed by strict inheritance laws known as the rules of Intestacy. The rules of Intestacy determine who will administer and benefit from your estate. The rules of Intestacy do not make provision for unmarried and unregistered partners. This means that the surviving partner will not automatically inherit any property or possessions owned in the sole name of the deceased partner. The rules also only recognise natural and adopted children, they do not acknowledge step-children. It is important to remember that if you die before making a valid Will what would have been your wishes will NOT be considered. Can I amend my Will? Read more It is completely understandable that circumstances in your life may have changed to when you first completed your Will. You can change your Will, but the law of England and Wales requires that this is done properly. There are two options: • A new Will; • A Codicil. A Codicil is a legal document that refers to your existing Will and sets out the alterations that you want to make to it. A Codicil needs to be signed and witnessed in the same way as a Will. The cost of a Codicil is £175 plus VAT. Why do I need a Will if I have life insurance? Read more Life insurance policies are usually part of your estate unless they have been written into a trust for another person, so you will still need a Will. Will I automatically inherit my spouse’s estate when they die? Read more Whether you automatically inherit on the death of your spouse will depend on if they had a valid Will and, if they did, what the wording of the Will is regarding the possessions in their estate. If your spouse dies intestate without making a valid Will, their estate will be governed by the rules of Intestacy. Under the rules, if your spouse were to die leaving you as the sole surviving spouse with no surviving children, you would be entitled to receive the whole of their estate. However, if you and your spouse had children and/or grandchildren then the estate is potentially divided differently if the value is worth more than £250,000. As the surviving spouse you would be entitled to receive all the deceased’s personal possessions together with a legacy of £250,000 from their estate. The remaining amount of their estate is then divided equally between you and the children. So, if the total amount of money to be distributed from the deceased’s estate is £500,000 and they are survived by a spouse and two children (who are over 18), then under the rules of Intestacy, the money will be divided as follows: • The surviving spouse would initially receive £250,000 (fixed legacy) plus the personal possessions; • The remaining £250,000 of the Estate would be divided, half to the spouse (£125,000) and half between the children in equal shares (£62,500 each) Whilst this division may seem fair in the eyes of the law, it may not be what everyone wants and as these laws can change over time, you can never guarantee how an estate might be divided in the future. How can I ensure the wishes in my Will do not fail after I die? Read more You can do this by trusting a dependable and loyal member of the family or loved one or alternatively you seek the advice and guidance of a solicitor. This is a safe option as it is their job to be objective and ensure all wishes in your Will are met. If you would like to know more about making a Will, you can contact the private client team at Pothecary Witham Weld Solicitors. You can also speak to a Solicitor at Trinity with our Free Will Scheme.