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There are several very important documents that you will accumulate during your lifetime, such as your birth certificate, your degree certificate, your marriage certificate, the deeds to your home and your children’s birth certificates.

Perhaps the most important document of all, although often overlooked, is your Will.

Nobody enjoys thinking or talking about death. But, whilst it is difficult, it is important to think about will happen to your assets when you die.
It is not obligatory by law to prepare a Will and it is an easy task to put off. However, many problems can arise if you die without leaving a valid Will.

Why should I make a Will?

By making a Will you can decide exactly who gets what and how much each person named (beneficiary) receives. This could be almost anything from personal belongings to pets or property.

You will also help to avoid unnecessary decisions amongst family members or relatives that may arise when a deceased person’s wishes are unclear.

Having a will also lets you set out your funeral arrangements so your relatives know exactly what your wishes are and so can ensure that they are followed.

If you have children, you can use your will to appoint guardians who you would like to look after your children in the event of your death. You can also create a trust so that your child’s inheritance is ‘held’ or invested for their benefit.

Can I draft my Will myself?

Theoretically yes, but Will drafting is a specialist area of law. Wills must be drafted in a certain way and if you make a mistake, it may not become apparent until after you’ve passed away, when it is obviously too late.

If you have your Will professionally drafted you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that your Will is valid, your wishes will be clearly set out and that your beneficiaries will receive precisely what you intended.

What happens if I die without a will?

If you do not have a Will then the Intestacy Rules apply and the law decides who inherits your possessions, property and money, in accordance with the Law of Intestacy (1925).

As you can imagine, they are unlikely to divide your assets in the way you would have chosen.

Under the Law of Intestacy if you are unmarried and have no living relatives your estate will automatically pass to the Crown (the state) if there is no valid Will in place.

There have been some recent changes to the Law of Intestacy. As of October 2014 if you die leaving a spouse and children, your spouse will receive a statutory legacy of up to the first £250,000 of your estate, all of your personal possessions and half of anything remaining above this amount, with the other half going to your children once they reach the age of 18 years. This has substantially reduced the share that may have gone to your children and so may be concerning to some, especially to those who may have been married more than once.

Can I make a change to an existing Will?

If you already have a will but wish to alter it in some way then we can assist. Most changes can be dealt with by a codicil, a document that amends, rather than replaces a previously executed Will. It is important not to alter the Will yourself as it is highly likely that such alterations will not be valid.

However, in some cases we may advise that re-drafting the Will is the best course of action.

Why choose James Murray Solicitors?

  • Professional and Friendly Service.
  • Central Location and Free Parking.
  • See your advisor face to face.
  • Fixed Fees.
  • Free Storage.
  • We can act as Executors for your Will.
  • We may be able to attend at your home if you are unable to get to our Office.