Making a Will - plain and simple advice

Making and reviewing your Will should be a priority for most people.  If you die without making a Will you will be “intestate” and the State will decide who has the right to deal with the administration of your estate and who it should pass to.  This may not necessarily be in a way you would have wanted.  If you have no close family and you die without a valid Will, the whole of your estate may pass to the State.

When you should make a Will, or review an existing Will

Every adult over the age of 18 should make a Will.  It is, however, particularly important to do so if:-

  • you have children;
  • you are in a relationship but unmarried and have not entered a civil partnership;
  • you have divorced or re-married since you made your Will (a marriage automatically invalidates any Will made before the date of the marriage);
  • your family situation has otherwise altered;
  • you have acquired property or other assets since making your Will;
  • any appointed executor has died or has become unwilling or unsuitable to act;
  • a named beneficiary has died;
  • you have become involved in a business since making your Will

Many people never take the practical and painless step of making a Will for fear of tempting fate or inviting disaster.  Such a failure can cause considerable uncertainty, and sometimes real problems.  Making a Will is the only way to ensure that your assets pass to the beneficiaries of your choice. 

At Oak Tree Probate Solutions our goal is to ensure that upon your death, your precise wishes are carried out with the minimum of stress to your family, and in a manner which keeps problems and expense to a minimum.

We will also store your Will and any other important documents you wish free of charge so that your family know where they are when you die.

Making a Will

The process may appear simple, but care is needed to make your Will as comprehensive as possible.  You should consider various factors, including:-

Executors

At least one executor must be appointed, but if your Will contains Trusts or provisions for children under 18, at least 2 are required.  They can include, for example, a family member, a friend or a professional adviser, including partners in Oak Tree Probate Solutions.

Guardians

If you have children, someone will have to take over responsibility for them should both parents die.  The appointment of guardians, in a Will, can avoid disputes within the family and ensure your children will be brought up by those people you consider most appropriate for this important task. 

Legacies

Your possessions are constantly changing and cannot normally be itemised in advance of your death.  Your Will should provide for the distribution of the residue i.e. the remainder of your estate, once liabilities have been settled and legacies referred to in the Will have been paid. 

“Residue” may be left to one or more individuals whether outright, or in trust for someone until they attain a specified age, or for life with a provision that the residue subsequently passes to others on the death of that person.  You may also wish to consider who would benefit in substitution should your first choice of beneficiary die before you.

General Points

You should take into account the following:-

  • if you live with a partner (not in a civil partnership) and die without making a Will, your partner will not be entitled to anything as of right from your estate, and would be obliged to take, potentially expensive legal proceedings against those administering your estate to receive from it any benefit at all;
  • if you are married or in a civil partnership and die without making a Will, your spouse or civil partner will not automatically be entitled to the whole of your estate;
  • marriage or entering into a civil partnership invalidates any Will which has been made previously.  If you are planning to marry or enter a civil partnership, both you and your intended should take advice about making Wills before the marriage/civil partnership takes place;
  • if you separate from your spouse or civil partner, the provisions of your Will are not affected – advice should be taken in such an event, so that a new Will to reflect your new wishes can be prepared;
  • if you own property abroad, advice is critical to ensure that an appropriate Will is put in place in order to avoid substantial legal fees which can arise if this is not done;
  • if you are a member of an employer’s pension scheme, you may be entitled to a lump sum death-in-service benefit and should notify the scheme trustees whom you wish to benefit in the event of your death;
  • the need to take appropriate advice as to whether you can avoid or reduce the inheritance tax bill payable on your death

How Can Oak Tree Probate Solutions Help?

Oak Tree Probate Solutions can simplify the process of your making a Will.  We understand your needs and can help you to make your wishes as clear as possible in your Will.  We can discuss your potential estate in detail with you and how you would like to see it divided, making sure that you understand the implications of your wishes.  If you are seeking to review your existing Will, we can ensure that appropriate changes are made, where necessary, to reflect your current wishes.


Our charges

The cost of making a Will is not high, especially when you bear in mind the distress that can be caused after your death if you leave no Will or leave an ambiguous home made one. 

Your requirements                                                                     
Cost
Single basic Will 
£100.00 plus VAT
Pair of basic Wills for husband and wife or civil partners 
£180.00 plus VAT


More complex Wills containing, for example,
rights of occupation or complicated distributions


Single£175.00 plus VAT
Pair (for husband and wife or civil partners)
£225.00 plus VAT


Wills requiring comprehensive tax planning,

including nil rate band discretionary trusts, IOU clauses etc

Single£300.00 plus VAT
Pair (for husband and wife or civil partners) 
£600.00 plus VAT


Severance of joint tenancies




£150.00 plus VAT
(plus Land Registry fees)