At Norfolk Will Writing, we are keen to ensure that completing your Will should be as straightforward and simple as possible. With that in mind, we’ve compiled some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) we receive from clients which may be of help.
A Will allows you to do many things that wouldn’t be possible if you were to die intestate (without a Will). This includes stating who will administer your estate and confirming who should be the guardian of any of your children. It also gives direction to your executors concerning distributing specific assets to people and achieving desired tax and estate planning objectives.
Dying without a Will (intestate) has various consequences. The cost of administering your estate will be higher, and the person authorised won’t necessarily be your choice. The distribution of your estate is fixed by law, irrespective of your intentions to include or exclude individuals. All amounts are paid out to beneficiaries as soon as they turn 18 years of age (rather than another age of your choosing). If you have children, your spouse may not inherit everything.
In England and Wales, you can write your own Will, but there are many traps for the unsuspecting person. This could result in assets not passing to your chosen beneficiaries – either because key Will provisions are invalid or the wording isn’t legally compliant. To translate your wishes into a legally effective Will, Norfolk Will Writing have undergone specialist training on the latest laws and interpretations of Will Writing to ensure everything is worded correctly for your peace of mind.
If you have children that are minors, you will have very strong feelings about who is best to care for them should you die, an unmarried father doesn’t always have automatic parental responsibility, so an appointment in the mothers Will is important, furthermore you may wish to make appointments of friends and family in the event that both parents have died.
If you are not married, they will not be able to keep anything that belongs to you. Your assets will be distributed according to your legally-recognised next of kin, which could run contrary to your wishes.
If you were to die intestate (without a Will) the law determines who gets your assets and how much. These rules say that if you have children, your spouse will receive the first £250,000, including the value of your house (if the house is worth more than £125,000 this may have to be sold). Beyond that, things become more complicated.
If your assets total more than £325,000 – including your house – your beneficiaries will be liable to pay 40% on everything over this amount. We can advise you on tax and estate planning and can on minimising your estate’s exposure to tax on your death, whether through your Will or by taking appropriate steps during your lifetime. It is possible to save tens of thousands of pounds through very simple and common measures.
Executors are the people who deal with the distribution of your estate after you’ve died.
Being an executor can involve a lot of work and responsibility so you should consider the people you appoint carefully.
You can appoint Norfolk Will Writing as your Executors to act solely or jointly with your other appointed Executors to assist with the administration of your estate, this means you can rest assured that your estate will be correctly administered.
You should review your Will whenever there have been changes in family circumstances (for example, births, deaths, disabilities, marriages, separation or divorce) or if there has been a significant change in your wealth, whether an increase or a decrease. But even if no such changes have occurred, there may be changes in income tax or other laws in the interim. Norfolk Will Writing offer an annual Client Care Service to allow one update to your will per year at no additional cost.
I was divorced recently, but how do I ensure that my ex-spouse does not receive anything under my Will?
Divorce automatically revokes gifts to your former spouse and removes them as an Executor. However, if your Will includes gifts to your former spouse, other changes may be needed, and you shouldn’t rely on the ‘revocation’ rule. Unless you make a new Will, your executor will be obliged to notify your former spouse that an application for Probate has been submitted to the court, and your former spouse may participate in the proceedings. They may make claims against the estate that are against your wishes and this may impact dramatically on your estate and your family and other beneficiaries.
Separation doesn’t affect your Will – even if you have a Separation Agreement. Therefore, you should write or update your Will as soon as you separate. However, your spouse may still have a claim against you under the relevant marital property laws.
This is when you give power to someone legally to act on your behalf to make financial decisions regarding property and affairs. An LPA can also include care decisions about your health and welfare should you lose mental capacity at some point in the future. Without a registered lasting power of attorney document your family, by law, will not be able to deal with your affairs.