What is a Last Will and Testament?

Fees for Last Will and Testament + 2 Minute Guide to Legal Planning

A recent article in the Guardian about a person who died without an up to date Last Will and Testament included the following paragraph:

“No doubt you (Dad) would be incredulous to discover that your children have had to apply for legal permission to sort out your affairs. You have been gone almost a year but we are still waiting for permission to be granted. We can’t touch any money in your accounts, so we paid for the funeral costs by extending the mortgage. Each month we budget towards paying your council tax as well as our own.”

There is more of it, and if you would like to read what the Guardian had to say about having an up to date Last Will and Testament, please do click the link.

Interesting?  I’m sure you wouldn’t wish to leave your family in such a pickle, would you?

A Last Will and Testament, if properly signed and witnessed – and not cancelled accidentally or deliberately in any other way – is what decides where your under age children and your assets go when you die.  It has no bearing on matters whilst you are still alive. That is the area where Lasting Powers of Attorney come in.

Why do I need a Last Will and Testament?

If you don’t have a valid Last Will and Testament, you will have no part in deciding where your assets and children go.  That will be decided by the Government under the unfair Rules of Intestacy which totally ignore partners you are not legally married to and in some cases, some of “your” children (see below). If both parents are dead then you have bequeathed your children to the immediate care of the local Social Services Department.

In summary:

  • A common law husband or wife has NO legal right to inherit. They can go to Court to apply for a share of your estate, if they can afford the legal costs.  However, a husband or wife you are in the process of divorcing DOES have the right to inherit if you haven’t made a new Last Will.
  • Even legal husband or wife does not necessarily inherit everything and may be forced to sell the family home to pay third parties off.
  • Unadopted step children get nothing, nor do your children who have been adopted by others.
  • You have missed a major chance to protect your assets from creditors, your childrens divorcing spouses, business problems and much more.
  • Some assets may pass on outside your legal estate without a Last Will – for example, a life insurance policy in Trust.

So how to I get a Last Will?  We offer fixed fees, and a variety of ways of creating your Last Will.

  • We really do care about making sure you do the best job you possibly can for your family and business.  Yes, without sound Legal Planning, a business can crash and die, just as a family can.
  • We offer an ongoing service to help you ensure your Last Will and other planning stays up to date and relevant as personal circumstance (yours and the family) change. As taxes change and as the Law changes.  Does any other adviser offer that?
  • We do NOT push ourselves on you as Executors, we try to get at least two layers of family executors and just pitch in if neither set can cope.
  • We are fully Regulated by the Society of Will Writers and Estate Planning Practitioners and have full professional indemnity insurance for £2,500,000.

Why not call us ?

Last Will and Testament