Write a will

Preparing a will is a big step for most people. Choosing the right advisers and having confidence in their advice is vital.

Based in Cardiff but providing a nationwide service we have a large, diverse and experienced team of wills and probate solicitors who specialise in all matters relating to wills.

We appreciate how confusing choosing the right will can be, which is why we offer several will writing services which are both convenient and competitively priced with the assurance that the will you get is created by fully qualified will experts.

Our wills solicitors will always deliver confidential and discreet advice in relation to the different types of wills available to meet your specific financial and family circumstances.

We will include advice on:

  • inheritance tax;
  • capital gains tax;
  • how to structure your will;
  • the appointment of executors to administer your affairs;
  • the appointment of guardians for any minor children; and
  • how to sign your will.

We work with each client to provide the highest level of advice to ensure the best provisions are made for you and your family now and in the future.

Contact us about making a will by completing our online enquiry form.

Why do I need a will?

Having a will is the only way to make sure your money and possessions go to the people that you choose.

Without a will, there is no guarantee that your money and possessions will be distributed to your family or to your surviving spouse. 

Types of will

There are two key standard will types;

  • Single will – a will for an individual; and
  • Mirror will – wills for couples

Single will – wills for individuals

A single will is designed for one person to appoint their choice of trusted individuals to act as executors of their estate. This will also allow you to give specific gifts and nominate who will benefit from your estate.

Critically, a single will allows the appointment of guardians for minor children giving peace of mind for future care.

Mirror will – wills for couples

A mirror will is designed for couples, whether married, unmarried or civil partners, who have similar wishes for the distribution of their estates. A mirror will allows for the appointment of executors, making gifts of items or sums of money and the distribution of the remainder of an individual’s estate following payment of debts. A mirror will can also contain provision for the appointment of guardians allowing couples to nominate those they feel best suited to care for their children.

What is a trust will?

Trust wills can offer increased protection of your assets such as property and possessions for loved ones. A trust will enables one person or more to hold an individual’s property, possessions or savings subject to certain duties to use and protect it for the benefit of others.

Property trusts (right of occupation)

A property trust offers all the benefits of a standard will plus provisions for protecting the family home for future generations. A property trust can be useful to ensure that your share of the family home goes to those you wish to benefit in the event of your surviving spouse remarrying or making a new will.

Life interest trusts (interest in possession)

A life interest trust can be useful for individuals or couples who wish to protect their estates for future generations. The purpose of a life interest trust in your will is to appoint a person to benefit from the income generated from your investments, and to live in the property you own, perhaps to provide continued financial support to a surviving spouse or children, whilst protecting the capital for your chosen beneficiaries or future generations.

Discretionary trusts

Whilst offering all the benefits of a standard will, a discretionary trust will also includes the appointment of trustees to manage assets held on trust on behalf of a number of beneficiaries. This is another method of safeguarding assets for future generations. It can assist in the slow release of assets in a situation where the estate is considerably large. If a beneficiary of your will has a disability, a discretionary trust may be useful as the arrangement can enable their needs to be met from the assets in your estate, without giving the disabled beneficiary an absolute entitlement.

Wills and tax planning

Our specialist solicitors can provide you with advice regarding the tax efficiency of your will, and the options you have to ensure that your affairs are as tax efficient as possible.

Making changes to a will

It ‘s very easy to forget to amend or review your will but if you don’t keep it up to date the provisions in your will may not reflect your intentions.

Amending and reviewing your will

We would always recommend you regularly review your will, usually every three to five years as personal or financial circumstances can change over time. Certain life events may also prompt you to review your will such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, and retirement.

What is a codicil?

A codicil is a supplemental document to a will which makes minor alterations but leaves the rest of the will intact.

There is no limit on how many codicils can be added to a will, but they are only suitable for very straightforward amendments to your will. If a complicated change is involved, we would usually advise you to make a new will.

Contact us now for a more information by calling 029 2066 0563 or complete our online enquiry form.

Rules of intestacy

Many people have good intentions to make a will but unfortunately a large number of people never do.

If you die without a will in place then the rules of intestacy will apply. These rules set out exactly who will inherit your estate, and in what proportions. See the Rules of Intestacy download for full details.

View our intestacy laws guide.

Importance of wills for co-habiting couples

If you are in a co-habiting relationship and have not made a will, you run the risk of leaving your partner in a potentially difficult situation in the event of your death.

Unmarried couples’ rights

Many people believe that if they have been living with a partner for a number of years they have become “common law husband and wife” and as a result have the same rights as married couples.

Contrary to a commonly held belief, co-habiting couples do not have equal inheritance rights to married couples. In fact, a co-habiting partner has no automatic entitlement from their partner’s estate at all.

Fortunately, it is possible to prevent this situation arising by making a professionally drafted will.

Law for unmarried couples

In the case of a death without a will, the laws of intestacy will apply. The laws of intestacy in England and Wales do not provide an entitlement for the surviving co-habitee like they would a spouse or civil partner, children and other family members. In this situation, sometimes the only option for a co-habiting partner is to go to court to apply for provision from their partner’s estate.

Children of co-habiting couples

It is important to understand that the legal position differs for minor children of unmarried parents as opposed to married parents and who will acquire the responsibility for their care in the event of their parents’ deaths.

Parents who are married when their child is born automatically acquire parental responsibility. This enables the parents to jointly or severally make decisions relating to the child’s educational or medical needs.

Where the parents of a child were unmarried at the time of the child’s birth only the mother will have automatically acquired parental responsibility. The father will acquire parental responsibility if he marries the child’s mother or if he is registered on the birth certificate, where the child was born after 1 December 2003. Otherwise, the father may need to enter into a formal agreement with the child’s mother that is then registered with the court or he will need to obtain a formal Parental Responsibility Order.

It is advisable in all cases, but particularly where there is only one parent with parental responsibility, to give consideration to who would acquire parental responsibility and care for the child if you die while the child is still under 18.

If this issue is not addressed by appointing a guardian in your will then it may well be left for the court to make the decision meaning that guardians are appointed who you may not necessarily have chosen yourself. Making a will puts you in complete control of what happens in the event of your death and enables you to provide for your loved ones as you see fit.

For expert legal advice from our specialised solicitors please contact us by calling 029 2066 0563 or completing our online enquiry form.

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