Wills Lawyers Malton, York & Wetherby
Making a Will allows you to safeguard the interest of your family for the future. Doing so ensures that your wishes will be respected when it comes to deciding who will inherit your money, property and other possessions. However, making a Will also offers a host of other benefits. Whatever stage of your life you're at, the private client solicitors at Pearsons & Ward can support you to put your affairs in order.
Why should I make a Will?
Writing a Will puts you control of deciding what will happen to your assets when you die. A Will also allows you to:
- Reduce stress and anxiety for loved ones by explicitly setting out your wishes
- Minimise the chance of disputes arising about what you would have wanted
- Appoint a guardian for your children or vulnerable family members
- Set out your funeral requests
- Appoint an executor to deal with your estate
- Identify charities and other causes that you would like to support through your estate
- Undertake financial planning, including reducing your liability for Inheritance Tax and setting up trusts
- Have the peace of mind of knowing that your assets will be handled in line with your wishes
What happens if I don’t make a Will?
If you die without making a Will your estate will be distributed under the law, not in line with your wishes. This is known as dying intestate. In these circumstances, default rules called intestacy rules are used to decide who should get what.
This can have severe consequences for certain classes of prospective beneficiaries. For example, unmarried partners and close friends cannot inherit under the intestacy rules. If you have no surviving relatives, your estate will pass to the crown rather than people or causes that you care about.
What are the requirements for a valid Will?
For a Will to be valid, there are specific requirements. A Will must be:
- Made by a person who is at least 18 years of age;
- Made voluntarily without pressure from another person;
- Created by a person of sound mind – they must be aware of the nature of the document, the property listed in it and be able to identify the beneficiaries;
- In writing;
- Signed by the person making the Will in the presence of two witnesses; and
- Signed by the witnesses in the presence of the person making the Will.
When should I review or update my Will?
It is a good idea to review your Will every five years, or after any substantial changes in your life. Examples might include if you get divorced, have a child or move house.
You can't simply amend your Will if it has been signed and witnessed. You'll need to make an official alteration, known as a codicil. A codicil must be signed and witnessed in the same way as the Will itself. For significant changes, you should make a new Will.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
In addition, you may be interested in our Lasting Powers of Attorney expertise. When we plan for the future it is essential to consider the possibility of becoming unable to look after our own affairs because of physical or mental incapacity, whether brought on by an accident, illness or old age which may make everyday tasks such as paying bills, managing a budget and making financial and welfare decisions difficult, stressful and, in some cases, impossible.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document which appoints someone (or more than one person) as your attorney, so they can help make those important decisions on your behalf if you become incapable of doing so for yourself. There are two types of LPA. One deals with property and finances and the other deals with personal welfare matters, such as where you live, medical care and life sustaining treatment. This type of LPA can only be used if you are unable to make decisions yourself
If you require further information about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact the Wills & Probate team at Pearsons & Ward on 01653 692247 (Malton) or 01904 716000 (York) or 01937 583210 (Wetherby), or complete our online enquiry form.