Some expert solicitors answer questions about estate planning and considerations to be regularly evaluated so that wishes can be honoured. The questions asked are intended to provide a brief overview of the process.

Expert Solicitors Answer Burning Questions About Estate Planning

1. What is a will?

A will is a document you can put in place to decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death.

2. When is it the right time to make a will?

Every adult should consider making a will if they hold assets in their own name.

Your will should then be reviewed every 3-5 years or upon certain life events, such as marriage or divorce, having children or a change in assets.

Marriage actually revokes a will and so on the lead-up to the big day, you should seek advice about reviewing your will.

3. Is a will legally binding?

A general power of attorney is only effective whilst the donor has capacity and is usually limited to specific item or task (e.g. sale of property or a company), whereas an LPA lasts beyond the donor losing capacity and is wider reaching in regards to the type of decisions being made.

4. What happens if I don’t have a will?

If you do not have a valid will in place there is a set statutory procedure, called ‘the intestacy rules’, which govern how your assets are distributed. The rules are rigid and may not be suitable for everyone.

For example, there is no such thing as a common law spouse and so an unmarried partner or cohabitee will not inherit under the intestacy rules.

Or if you are married with children, your spouse is only entitled to personal possessions and a statutory legacy (which is currently £322,000). Any assets in excess of this are then divided between your spouse and children who will inherit upon attaining the age of 18. This may not be appropriate in the circumstances as it limits what your spouse may inherit and your children could receive a large sum of money at a young age.

Making a will can help manage how loved ones inherit in the future.

5. What should I think about when making a will?

There are a number of things to consider when making a will including:

  • Who you would like to appoint as your executor to administer your estate and carry out your wishes? Your executor can be your spouse or partner, children, another family member, or a trusted friend. You can appoint someone who will also benefit under your will, for example, your spouse or children. If you do not have a person you can appoint, you may wish to consider appointing a professional, such as a solicitor or accountant.
  • Who you would appoint as a guardian for any minor children or others you have parental responsibility for?
  • What assets do you have and who you would like to inherit, such as family, friends or charities? Are there gifts of personal possessions or cash legacies you would like to make?

6. Can an attorney change your will?

In essence, no. The testator makes their will and if valid, it is binding. If the testator made a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in their lifetime, the person appointed as their attorney does not have the power under the LPA to change the testator’s will.

This material does not give a full statement of the law. It is intended for guidance only and is not a substitute for professional advice. No responsibility for loss occasioned as a result of any person acting or refraining from acting can be accepted by Russell-Cooke LLP or Comfort Care At Home Ltd.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *