Some estimates suggest that two thirds of adults in England and Wales do not have a Will. When someone dies without leaving a will or with a will that is not valid it can cause difficulties for the family at an already distressing time.
For many people, a Basic Will is all that is required to put your affairs in order and give you and your loved ones peace of mind. Our expert service helps you ensure that all your wishes have been correctly documented so that when the time comes they can be carried out.
All Will documents are personally hand delivered at an agreed time, explained fully in plain English and supervised at their attestation (signing). In fact, our consultants can be one of your witnesses if necessary.
All our work is insured and once a document has been correctly attested, we will offer free advice regarding that document for life.
To discuss your Will and how we can help you provide for your loved ones, get in touch to arrange a no-obligation consultation.
More information about Basic Wills
If you are single, you will need a Single Basic Will.
If you are part of a couple, you and your partner will need Mirror Basic Wills. This means your Wills reflect each other’s – everything is left to the surviving partner on the first death and then to the same beneficiaries on the second death.
If you and your partner have very different intentions, then two Single Basic Wills will be needed.
We will advise you on the best route to take once we understand your situation.
When we write your Will, there are a number of things we will ask you to consider.
This is the person or people who will carry out the instructions in your Will. Your executor should therefore be someone you trust who is over the age of 18, is organised, is comfortable speaking to companies over the phone, visiting office premises, writing letters and filling out forms etc.
Generally, a couple will name each other as the first executors, with any children as reserves. Other family members or friends can also be named if necessary but be wary of naming someone who is much older. We would also advise that you name more than one executor as a precaution. The individuals chosen don’t have to be told, although it is a courtesy.
Alternatively, a professional person such as solicitor or an accountant can be used but this will attract fees when the time comes. Sevvy Hasan, the founder of King Will’s Wills Ltd, can act as a professional executor if required
These are usually the same people as the executors and will be responsible for any trusts that become necessary as a result of the Will. Read more about our services in relation to Trusts.
If you have children or have parental responsibility for a child, you can specify who should become the legal guardian(s) of your children if they are under the age of 18 when you die. Otherwise the local authority will decide what happens to them.
A mother always has parental responsibility. A father only has parental responsibility if:
- he was married to the mother at the time of the birth or subsequently marries her
- for children born after 1st December 2003, he is named on the birth certificate
- the mother agrees or if the courts award parental responsibility to him
- the mother dies but has named him as a guardian in her Will.
Guardians should be individuals who are trusted and are over the age of 18. Consideration should be given to how old the guardian will be when the youngest child reaches the age of 18. You will also need to consider if the guardians can afford the cost involved with raising children, have the time and energy, have enough space at their home. You may also like to think about how far they live from your children so you can decide whether it would cause major disruption to your children at what would already be a difficult time.
These are the people who will one day inherit your assets. A child can’t inherit below the age of 18, although you can specify an older age – often 21 or 25.
There are certain people who, if left out of the Will, have the legal right to contest it:
- a spouse or civil partner of the deceased
- a former spouse or civil partner of the deceased
- a cohabitee who has been living as the husband or wife or civil partner of the deceased for the preceding two years
- a biological or adopted child of the deceased (including adults)
- a person who, in the case of any marriage or civil partnership to which the deceased was a party, was treated by the deceased as a child of the family in relation to the marriage or civil partnership
- any person who was being maintained by the deceased immediately before death.
In these circumstances a trust may well be necessary to prevent contestation. You can find out more about our Trust services here.
Specific gifts can also be made in a Will to any individuals or charity. It is usually a sum of money, a family heirloom, a high value item or something of sentimental value. A legacy can also be a house or even a pet. If there is a property within the estate a trust may well be necessary. You can find out more about our Trust services here.
If there are numerous items and recipients, it is generally better to make a separate list which can be kept with or referred to in the Will and can be updated as and when necessary without having to draft a new Will.