Wills

We understand that preparing a will is a big step for most people and that choosing the right advisers and having confidence in their advice is therefore vital.

Based in Cardiff and London, but providing a nationwide service, we have a large, diverse and experienced team of specialist wills advisors.

We offer a comprehensive and flexible will writing service which can be tailored to suit your individual needs and offers you choice on the service that suits you best.

Our wills advisors 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 offer a choice of will writing services, all of which are both convenient and competitively priced with the assurance that your will will be created by fully qualified will experts.

A summary of our will writing offering and what each includes is below. 

 

Telephony support Face to face meetings at office Witnessing service Inheritance tax assessment and advice Option to use Hugh James Trust Corporation Limited Full bespoke tax report
Telephone offering
Face to face offering
Bespoke offering

 

Telephone offering

This option is ideal for those with busy lives who may not have the time to visit us at our offices but want to have a conversation and seek guidance from one of our experts.

It is suitable for relatively straightforward wills where general advice is sufficient; this may include general advice regarding tax and the use of trusts but if specific advice about a particular tax point peculiar to a person is required, or a detailed bespoke tax report, then another offering may be more suitable.

In this offering we provide a comprehensive will writing instruction form which highlights any issues that require consideration and assists in determining the best way to give effect to your wishes.

A qualified wills adviser is available on the telephone to go through the will writing instruction form and answer any of your queries. They will then prepare and send a draft of your will to you.

Upon receipt of that draft, our wills adviser is available again on the telephone to address any queries and make any amendments that may be necessary. Once a draft is finalised, a final version is sent for execution, along with a detailed guide as to how to do so. Once it is executed, the will is stored free of charge.

Face to face offering

This offering includes the opportunity to meet with us, either in our Cardiff or London offices. In some cases – depending on geographical location – we may be able to meet at your home or another location convenient to you. Please note that we will propose a further charge for our travel time.

As with our telephone offering, some general advice regarding tax and the use of trusts is provided, but if specific advice about a particular tax point or a detailed bespoke report is required then another offering may be more suitable.

This offering also includes our comprehensive will writing instruction form and you will be able to go through the will writing instruction form with a qualified wills advisor who can answer any queries you may have. A draft will is then prepared by us and sent to you for consideration.

Upon receipt of that draft, our wills adviser is available in person or over the phone to address any queries and to make any amendments. Once the draft is finalised, you will have a final meeting to go over the will one last time and for us to oversee the execution and act as witnesses. This is to ensure that the document is fully legally compliant. Once it is executed, the will is stored free of charge.

Bespoke offering

This offering is most suitable for individuals or couples who are likely to require in depth and bespoke tax and estate planning advice before finalising their wills.

It includes all of the components of our face to face offering, with the option of a full written tax report based on individual circumstances, providing comprehensive advice on your personal tax position and bespoke planning advice. This offering may also incorporate the drafting of further documents pursuant to our advice, such as trust deeds or letters of wishes.

As each individual’s needs are different, we quote for prices in this offering on a case by case basis but will always endeavour to agree a fixed fee.

One of our senior solicitors will call you first for a no obligation ‘scoping call’ at the outset, in order to assess precise needs and provide an accurate estimate before any work begins.

Our commitment to service

Whichever way you decide to write your will, we will work to the timeframes below:

  • Draft wills will be sent within 10 working days of receipt of final instructions and payment
  • Amended draft wills will be sent within five working days of a request for amendment
  • Final wills will be sent within five working days of approval of a draft
  • Copy wills will be sent within two working days of receipt of the executed final will

Pricing

A summary of our pricing is below. Please note that we do require funds on account before we commence work. Whilst we will do our best to identify the product best for you at the outset, this could potentially change upon detailed discussion with your advisor, at which point we will obviously provide a further quote, as below.

 

Standard
single will
Standard
mirror wills
Trust single
will
Trust mirror
wills
Telephone offering £150 + VAT £195 + VAT £195 + VAT £315 + VAT
Face to face offering £250 + VAT £300 + VAT £500 + VAT £600 + VAT
Bespoke offering All options within our bespoke offering are priced on an individual basis

 

Standard single will

A standard single will is designed for one person:

  • to appoint their choice of trusted individuals to act as executors of their estate;
  • to make specific gifts;
  • to nominate who will benefit from the rest of their estate; and
  • to appoint guardians for minor children.

A standard single will does not include formal trust provisions. It may, however, include non-complex trusts such as gifts to individuals when they reach a certain age.

Standard mirror wills

Standard mirror wills are designed for couples (married or unmarried, civil partners or otherwise), who have similar wishes for the distribution of their estates:

  • to appoint their choice of trusted individuals to act as executors of their estates;
  • to make specific gifts ;
  • to nominate who will benefit from the rest of their estate; and
  • to appoint guardians for minor children.

Standard mirror wills do not include formal trust provisions. They may, however, include non-complex trusts such as gifts to individuals when they reach a certain age.

Trust single will

A trust standard will is designed for one person:

  • to appoint their choice of trusted individuals to act as executors of their estate;
  • to make specific gifts;
  • to nominate who will benefit from the rest of their estate;
  • to appoint guardians for minor children; and
  • to create trusts as may be necessary to offer increased protection of their assets such as property and possessions.

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.

Trust mirror wills

Trust mirror wills are designed for couples (married or unmarried, civil partners or otherwise), who have similar wishes for the distribution of their estates:

  • to appoint their choice of trusted individuals to act as executors of their estates;
  • to make specific gifts;
  • to nominate who will benefit from the rest of their estate;
  • to appoint guardians for minor children; and
  • to create trusts as may be necessary to offer increased protection of your assets.

Trust mirror wills enable 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.


Why do I need a will?

By executing a will you can:

  • Choose who will administer your estate after your death and pass your assets on to your beneficiaries
  • Choose who will act as trustee for any ongoing trust created
  • Express your preference as to the guardians for any of your infant children
  • Dictate to whom your assets pass, and on what terms.
  • Express a preference as to your funeral wishes
  • Ensure that your estate is distributed in as a tax efficient a way as possible and that your assets are protected as best they can be

In the absence of a valid will, your estate will pass via the intestacy provisions there is no guarantee that it will pass in the way that you want it to.

Our guide to the intestacy provisions can be found here.

What sorts of trusts are typically contained within wills – and why?

Property trusts (right of occupation)
A property trust can be useful to ensure that your spouse or partner is entitled to remain in occupation of your share of the family home after your death but also that your share eventually passes to those you wish to benefit (for example your children) in the event of your surviving partner marrying/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
A discretionary trust involves the appointment of trustees to manage assets held on trust on behalf of a number of potential beneficiaries, with the ultimate decision as to who of those beneficiaries should benefit, and how, in the hands of the trustees. This is another method of potentially safeguarding assets for future generations. It can assist in the slow release of assets. If, for example, a beneficiary of your will has a disability or is vulnerable, a discretionary trust may be useful as the arrangement can enable their needs to be met from the assets in your estate, without giving them an absolute entitlement. Discretionary trusts are also sometimes useful as part of a tax planning strategy.

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 a will. If a complicated change is involved, we normally advise that it is better to make a new will.

Why is it particularly important for co-habiting couples to make wills?

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 this commonly held belief, co-habiting couples do not have equal inheritance rights to married couples (see our guide to the intestacy provisions). In fact, a co-habiting partner has no automatic entitlement from their partner’s estate at all.

What will happen to my will if I get married or divorced?

Unless your will is made specifically in contemplation of a marriage, it will be automatically revoked upon you getting married. This will have the effect of you being intestate and your estate passing by way of the intestacy provisions. Our guide to the intestacy provisions is here.

If you get divorced then, whilst your will will subsist, any gift to your spouse will fail and they will be treated as having pre-deceased you. Depending on the drafting of your will, this could lead to your estate passing in a way that you might not expect and may even result in some or all of your estate passing via the intestacy provisions, notwithstanding the fact that you have a valid will. This is known as your estate being ‘partially intestate’



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