Step One Charity recently sat down with one of our partner solicitors for our upcoming Make a Will Week, taking place between 5th and 9th February 2024. Below Thomas, from Scott Richards Solicitors, talks us through some of the most common questions the firm receives when people are considering making their wills. Watch the video or read more below.
Why do I need a will?
It is unfortunate that only approximately 35% of the adult population have a will. This figure has remained constant for a number of years and clearly reflects the discomfort with which our nation views the subject. Death is something we do not like to speak about, but unfortunately if you do not have your affairs properly in order then you are simply leaving problems for your loved ones at a time when they already have to cope with the trauma of a bereavement.
If you do not have a will then it can be necessary for a member of the family to obtain a court order to distribute your estate according to any wishes outside of standard inheritance distribution laws (Rules of Intestacy). This can be costly and time consuming so potentially reducing the total received by your loved ones.
So, the administration of an estate is far easier to deal with when there is a will in place and, in addition, by having the will in place you are able to choose who you would wish to benefit.
What do I need to consider when making a will?
This is the primary thing to be considered, in most cases. Who would you like to have your estate when you have died? You may choose to leave the entire estate to one person or perhaps divide it between more than one, either in equal or unequal shares. Please bear in mind that the shares will be of the estate at the date of your death and accordingly, if you have left cash legacies (see below) then the residue of your estate will diminish if the capital value of your estate reduces during your lifetime. In that situation, you will need to keep your will under regular review.
‘EXECUTORS’ and ‘TRUSTEES’
These individuals are responsible for administering your estate, following your death. The Trustees are almost always the same people as the Executors. In most cases, the Executors/Trustees will be dealing with your estate after your death and it will then be “wound up” with the money being passed to the beneficiaries. In other cases, where there is an ongoing Trust (i.e. infant beneficiaries who cannot benefit until reaching at least 18 years of age or other Trusts) then the Trustees could be in control for a number of years following your death.
If you die with children under 18 years of age then, subject to any other person having parental responsibility of the child at the date of your death, you are entitled to appoint legal guardians in your will. The Court will always have overriding jurisdiction as to guardianship but it is important that you use your will to inform a Court of your wishes as to who should look after your children.
How much does a will cost?
Aside from Step One Charity’s Make a Will Week, here at Scott Richards, we would generally meet with you and take details in relation to your family/financial situation and then take instructions in relation to your will. Once we have discussed matters, you would be provided with a fixed fee quote for putting the will in place, and if you decided not to proceed then there is no charge for that meeting.
Prices will vary across different firms. At Scott Richards generally, and by way of guidance, our fixed fee for dealing with a straightforward will is £250.00 plus vat. Where we receive joint instructions for ‘mirror’ wills our fixed fee is £375.00 pus vat. More complex wills establishing ongoing Trusts or Rights of Occupation are generally in the region of £600.00 plus vat.
What is Step One Charity's Make a Will Week?
During 5th – 9th February 2024, Step One Charity’s partner solicitors (including Scott Richards Solicitors) and will-writing experts will be donating their time for free, and instead of paying the solicitor, you simply make a donation to Step One Charity. This means that you, in partnership with our local solicitors, are helping to raise essential funds to support people with mental health problems in Devon whilst also receiving expert legal support to write your will.
How to book your free will-writing appointment
Bookings open on Tuesday 2nd January 2024, so set your reminders now!
Appointments for Step One Charity’s Make a Will Week are largely held between 5th to 9th February 2024. Appointments are limited and provided on a first-come-first-served basis, so contact our partner solicitors directly using the information below from 2nd January 2024 quoting ‘Step One Charity’ to enquire.
Contact our partner solicitors
All our Make a Will Week partners are more than happy to answer any queries or concerns regarding making your will. Please find their details below:
Scott Richards Llp
Teignmouth and Newton Abbot locations
Exeter, Teignmouth and Newton Abbot locations