Making an effective and well-planned Will allows you to decide who should benefit from your estate. It creates certainty, reduces worry and gives you the peace of mind of knowing exactly how your money, property and possessions will be dealt with after your death. It can also reduce the risk of a disagreement arising in the future.
Your Will is an important legal document and should be prepared by a qualified professional. At SMR Solicitors, our Will writing solicitors offer clear and comprehensive advice to ensure you have the Will that is right for you and your family. Our Wills team are highly experienced and can advise on issues such as Inheritance Tax, trusts and complex estates to ensure that your estate is structured in the most efficient way possible.
In certain circumstances, it is particularly important to have a valid Will in place, including if you have a second or blended family, if you are cohabiting but not married and if you have stepchildren. Without a Will, there is a serious risk that your loved ones could miss out on the inheritance that you would like them to have.
Your local Will writing solicitors at SMR can assist with services such as the following:
- Taking your instructions and advising you on the best way to pass on your estate
- Drafting your Will and ensuring it is correctly executed
- Advice in respect of making a Will after a second marriage
- Inheritance Tax advice
- Trusts advice, both for making a Will during your lifetime and setting up a trust in your Will
- Advice in respect of foreign assets
- Review of an existing Will
- Professional executor service, in the event that you do not have anyone to be your executor
- Wills and business succession advice
- Wills and care home fees advice
Our Will writing solicitors are friendly and approachable and will spend time with you to find out exactly what you want to happen to your estate. We will ensure that you have a clear understanding of your Will and answer all of your questions throughout.
We help clients across the whole of West Sussex, providing a flexible service so that you can deal with us in the way that best suits you, for example, meeting face-to-face, speaking via video link or by telephone or email.
To view other related services, see Elderly Client Services.
Speak to our Will writing solicitors in West Sussex
To discuss your requirements and find out how we can help, please get in touch to speak to one of our expert Will writing lawyers.
Our Will writing solicitors’ fees
We know that it is important for our clients to know exactly how much our services will cost, so we make sure that our fees are clear from the outset. We provide most Wills on a fixed fee basis.
Where a situation is more complicated and not suitable for fixed fees, we will agree on an hourly rate with you based on the level of expertise needed.
If you would like to enquire as to the cost of using our solicitors for Will writing, please contact us, and we will be happy to answer all of your questions.
Will writing explained
When should you make a Will?
Ideally, you should always have a Will in place, even if you are a younger person. As well as ensuring that your assets pass to those whom you want to inherit, a Will is also reassuring to those left behind.
There are certain circumstances when it is particularly important to make or review your Will, however. These include if you will be moving in with a partner, buying a home, marrying or having a child. You should also review your Will if anyone named in it dies or if an executor becomes unable to take on the role.
What should you put in your Will?
You can deal with a wide range of issues in your Will, including the following:
- Appointing executors to deal with the administration of your estate
- Appointing guardians for your children if they are under 18
- Leaving gifts, to include personal possessions or cash lump sums to beneficiaries
- Leaving assets in trust for minor children and naming trustees
- Leaving a life interest to someone, for example, a life interest in your shared home to your partner
- Naming those whom you wish to receive the residue of your estate
- Leaving your pets to someone
- Instructions for your funeral – although these will not be legally binding, it can be helpful for your loved ones to have some idea of your wishes
Our local Will writing solicitors in West Sussex can discuss your situation with you and guide you to as what to consider when having your Will drafted.
What are the requirements for a valid Will?
To be valid, the following should apply to a Will:
- You should be aged over 18
- Be of sound mind
- Make the Will voluntarily and without duress
- The Will should be in writing
- It should be witnessed by two witnesses who should also sign and add their names. The witnesses should not be beneficiaries or married to a beneficiary or any gift to them will fail
What happens if you die without making a Will?
If someone dies without a Will in place, their estate passes in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy. These set out in order of preference who is entitled to inherit.
By way of example, if the deceased had a spouse and children, then under the Rules of Intestacy, their spouse would inherit all of their personal possessions plus the first £250,000 of their net estate. The remainder is split into two. The spouse inherits one half, while the other half is shared equally between the children.
If the deceased does not have a spouse or children or grandchildren, the next relatives entitled to inherit are siblings, then nephews and nieces.
Cohabiting partners do not inherit anything, however long they have been with the deceased, nor do step-children.
How often should you update your Will?
A Will should be reviewed every five years to ensure that you are still happy with its contents and that those who are appointed to act, for example, as executors or guardians, are still able to take on the role.
It is also important to review your Will in light of any major life changes. For example, if you marry, your Will automatically becomes invalid. Other times to think about whether changes are necessary are if you start cohabiting, if you have a child or if your financial circumstances change substantially.
Are DIY Wills a good idea?
DIY Wills are not generally recommended. A Will needs to be carefully drafted to ensure that it is legally binding and not ambiguous. Where it is not clear, it can leave scope for disagreements to arise, as those left behind may have different opinions about what your intentions were.
A professionally drafted Will is not expensive and will give you the peace of mind of knowing that, should anything happen, your loved ones will be provided for in the way that you would want.