Why You Should Write a Will

Why You Should Write a Will

Our mortality may not be a subject we always want to engage with, but writing a will is a crucial task for everyone. Once you have given serious thought to whom you would like to leave your money, possessions and property to in the event of your death, it’s a relatively simple process to make a legally binding will that will give you the peace of mind of knowing that your final wishes will be carried out to your satisfaction.

Minimise stress

Losing a loved one is one of the hardest experiences any family member has to go through and this emotional pain is only made worse in situations where wills have not been made. Making sure your last wishes are clearly defined, legally binding and up to date is the only way to take this bureaucratic stress away from your family.

Make sure your wishes are carried out 

Whether you are dealing with sizeable trusts or small personal possessions, it’s incredibly important to make sure that your worldly goods are passed on exactly as you would wish them to be. Not only will this prevent added emotional pain to those surviving, it means that you can be sure your final wishes will be carried out. If you do not make a will, your estate will be divided according to the law, which may not be in allegiance with your wishes.

Appoint an Executor and Power of Attorney

It’s crucial to appoint someone you trust to be the executor of your will. This person will be responsible for organising your estate and following the instructions you leave with regard both to inheritance and your funeral arrangements. You can appoint a professional executor but many people choose to name a close relative like a spouse or civil partner as it is possible for your executor to be a beneficiary of your will.  That said, some people choose another trusted relative or friend to take away this administrative burden at a time of grieving. Powers of attorney is another important role you need to get covered. Giving a trusted family member power of attorney generates a legal document that allows them to make legal, business and financial decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.

Provide for your dependents 

Making a will is an important task for everyone, but it’s a particularly crucial task to complete if you have a spouse, children or other family members who depend on you financially. Not only does failing to leave a will mean your estate may not be divided as you would wish, it can also increase any inheritance tax bill. Also, if you are in a situation where you do not wish your immediate family to benefit from your will, it is equally important to make sure your wishes are legally set down according to the legally binding rules of probate

For a friendly and professional will writing service, contact Heritage Will Writers on 01603894500 to arrange a free home visit.

What you need to know about probate

What you need to know about probate

What is probate? It is the legal process of transferring of property upon a person’s death. When creating wills, we set out our intentions as to how our property is to be distributed and perhaps how certain debts shall be paid, or if trusts need to be set up. Throughout the years, the laws have changed but the purpose of probate remains the same, and in most circumstances it is an easy process. 

The probate process 

When making a last will and testament, you appoint someone you trust as executor of that will so that they can carry out the instructions laid out therein. The executor presents the will to a local court in the country where the decedent (the person who died) lived. If you have not provided a will, then someone will need to apply to the court to be appointed as the administrator of your estate. This is usually the spouse or child of the decedent, so if neither of these are preferable, or you’d prefer not to give them the responsibility, then you can also appoint powers of attorney to other trusted individuals who can help with the administration of your estate after you’re gone. 

What is covered in probate? 

Any property owned by the person at death is subject to the probate process. If you’ve heard the term “probating a will” – this refers to the process where it is demonstrated that the decedent followed proper legal formalities when they drafted their will. This is to ensure that the decedent was in no way influenced when preparing their will, and that they had sufficient mental capacity at the time of writing it to make decisions of this stature. The basics of what happens in and outside the courtroom are as follows:

  • All probate property of the decedent must be collected
  • Any debts or taxes outstanding by the estate must be settled
  • All right’s to income, dividends, life assurance policies etc. must be collected
  • All claims or disputes must be settled
  • The remaining property is distributed to the heirs, either named in the will or by the court

Can the probate process be contested?

Often the process is left uncontested, when a will has been prepared and the details laid out simply. This also happens regularly when there isn’t a large amount of property to be distributed. However, the probate process can be contested when one heir is seeking a larger share of the decedent’s property than they have initially been instructed to receive. In these cases, the disgruntled party will often suggest that the decedent didn’t follow the necessary formalities when drafting their will, or that they may have been improperly influenced by another heir. Creditor’s can also make a claim on the estate of the deceased. 

Is it an expensive process?

A number of fees apply to the process and it can prove quite costly after solicitor’s fees, court fees and the fees of those involved. The probatesystem does exist to protect all parties but it can also be avoided. Before death, one can distribute gifts, set up trusts or set out joint ownership so that their property goes to the surviving party. 

In order to avoid a lengthy probate process, it’s best to have your will in order, so call Heritage Will Writers on 01603894500 for assistance today.

3 Things All Pet Owners Should Consider When Making a Will

3 Things All Pet Owners Should Consider When Making a Will

For many, pets are an integral part of family life. In fact, around 44 percent of all households have a pet of some description, according to figures collated by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association

No matter the type of pet you have, you’ve probably developed a strong emotional bond with it over the years and have come to see it as part of the family. With this in mind, it’s important to consider what would happen to your animal companion if you were to pass away and factor in your pet’s care plans when creating a will. 

Here at Heritage Wills, we’re proud to offer an industry leading will writing service catering to people across the south and southeast of England. If you want to ensure your pet is financially provided for and left in caring hands after you’re gone, here are a few things to consider: 

1. Decide Who to Leave Your Pet to 

One of the most critical things to take into consideration is who you would ideally like to leave your pet to. For most people, this might be a relative or a close friend, but keep in mind that a passion for animals doesn’t automatically make someone the right choice. Housing can have a big impact on suitability, as can the amount of free time the prospective carer can dedicate to your pet. Similarly, allergies, lack of mobility and financial stability should also be taken into consideration. Be sure to have an open and honest discussion with the prospective carer before writing them into your will. 

2. Creating a Trust for Your Pet 

As a pet owner, you’re probably well aware that keeping your animal companion happy and healthy can be expensive. Indeed, the lifetime cost of a medium sized dog breed is estimated to be around £10,000! 

To avoid putting a financial burden on the person you choose to leave your pet to, some people decide to set up a trust that covers the future expenses of caring for your pet. To calculate an appropriate amount to put into the trust, think about your pet’s typical annual food and medical expenses. Top it up with some extra funds to cover the additional medical fees that most pet owners face as their pet ages. 

3. Ensure Provisions are Set Out in Your Will 

As with all other aspects of your will, it’s critical that your intentions are clearly set out in writing to eliminate any ambiguities. Set provisions in your will that state who you wish to take care of your pet and the details of your pet’s trust fund (if you have one). This is a relatively simple matter, but it does provide you with greater peace of mind knowing that your beloved pet will be looked after by someone you trust. 

Heritage Wills is the will writing service you can trust. Give us a call today for a no-obligation chat to discuss your options.

3 Reasons You Need a Will – Even if You Have No Assets

3 Reasons You Need a Will – Even if You Have No Assets 

One of the most common myths in the will writing industry is that a will is only necessary if you have a lot of valuable assets to your name. On one level, this concept is somewhat logical – after all, if you don’t own property or have thousands of pounds in your bank account, what is there to bequeath in the event of your passing? 

However, the reality is that just about every person in the UK will have something of value to leave behind and a will is vital for ensuring these assets are passed down legally and in line with your wishes. In addition, there’s a very good chance that you have some things that may hold a lot of sentimental meaning, even if they’re not particularly valuable. A will ensures these treasured keepsakes are well cared for in the years ahead. 

Here are three reasons why everyone needs a will, even if you have no assets: 

1. Appoint Someone to Handle Your Funeral 

It is a bit morbid to think of your own mortality, but the fact remains that you need to be mindful of practical matters when writing your will. This includes – among other things – naming an executor, who is typically tasked with arranging your funeral and sorting other pragmatic issues such as closing banks accounts, dealing with your taxes and so on. Remember that an executor doesn’t necessarily have to be your closest loved one; instead, choose someone who will be able to stay level headed and practical even while in mourning.

2. Bequeath Sentimental Possessions

Not every person will have a portfolio of properties or millions of pounds to leave behind, but just about everybody will have accumulated some beloved sentimental possessions over the course of their life. Whether it’s a special watch, heirloom jewellery, or an old family photograph, a will allows you to set out in writing what happens to your treasured belongings after your passing. This is a vital step if you have specific items that you wish to leave to a person outside your immediate family because, if you die without a will, your estate is shared out under the rules of intestacy.

3. Children and Pets

If you have a family, the most important reason to write a will is to set out what will happen to your children. In the tragic scenario that both parents pass away and leave young children behind, your choice of guardian will influence heavily in the judge’s decision when it comes times to appoint a guardian for your kids. If you’re a pet owner, a will is also critical for naming who you wish to take care of your pet. In both cases, it’s important to talk things over with your prospective guardian before naming them in your will to ensure everyone is on the same page. 

A will is vital no matter the size of your estate. Give the friendly Heritage Wills team a call today to learn more about our industry leading will writing services.