It is thought that as many as one in seven people now die without making a Will, and about 50% of people who have made a Will do not know whether it is up to date, because their family circumstances or their wishes may have changed over time, but they have not looked at their Will since they signed it.

You may recall seeing the BBC2 television programme ‘You Can’t Take It with You’ which highlighted the potential problems for people who have not made Wills. If you die without a Will, your estate may not pass in the way you would expect and this may result in a loved one not being provided for, disputes amongst family members, or inheritance tax being paid which could have been avoided.

Seventeen good reasons to review or make your Will;

  • You haven’t already got one and you don’t want the Government to decide who gets what
  • It hasn’t been updated for more than 3 years and could be outdated
  • Your family circumstances have changed e.g. you now have children or grandchildren
  • To appoint Guardians for your children
  • You have divorced, married or remarried – all of these affect your Will
  • You or your partner have stepchildren
  • Your financial circumstances have changed e.g. you have inherited property
  • You are married to someone from another country
  • To reduce Inheritance Tax on your death
  • To make your wishes known and legally binding
  • To prevent the wrong people getting your estate/money
  • To ensure that provision is made in the right proportions to your family members
  • As part of a Trust arrangement
  • To provide for your pets
  • To decide who will be in charge of your estate (your Executors)
  • To make donations/legacies/gifts to charities/organisations or people
  • To prevent challenges to your estate from family members or others

Families are not as straightforward as they once were; couples with children from previous marriages or relationships, unmarried couples who have children or a property together and people who have no immediate family or who do not wish to benefit their relatives should all carefully consider how they would want their estates to pass on their deaths. By making a Will, you are clearly setting out your wishes about who should deal with your estate and how it should be distributed. You can also appoint guardians in a Will to look after children and make legacies to charities and other organisations that are important to you. These types of wishes may not be carried if you do not set them out in a Will.

Marriage automatically revokes a Will, so if you have married since making a Will, you will need to make a new one, even if you intend to leave your estate to the same people.

Similarly, if you have been divorced since making a Will, you should review your Will and amend it if necessary, for example replacing a former spouse as an Executor or beneficiary of your Will.

The way you hold your house or flat could cause it to pass contrary to the terms of your Will. Jane Whitfield has written a short guide explaining the different ways you can hold property to help you decide which is the best way for you.

Many people put off making a Will either because they do not think they need to make one yet or because they simply cannot decide what to do for the best. Often making a Will is something they have been planning to do for a long time and just have not done anything about yet.

Making a Will does not have to be complicated or expensive. Our team can discuss with you the different types of Wills which may be appropriate for your family situation and make suggestions for ways to achieve a solution as smoothly as possible.

For further information please contact the Private Client team by telephone on 0118 958 9711 or email info@barrettandco.co.uk to arrange an appointment for you to meet with one of our solicitors at our offices in Queens Road, Reading, Berkshire. Please let us know if Reading is not convenient for you as we can also arrange client appointments at your home where required.

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Wills Testimonials

Several years ago a close friend told me how highly he respected Hilary Buckle's caring advice and professionalism as a family solicitor. Since then, I have had the pleasure of dealing with Hilary at Barrett & Co with regard to both Lasting Powers of Attorney and also the redrafting of my Will, and have to say that her practical, down to earth approach was at all times a breath of fresh air, and gave me confidence that I had made the right decisions. My occasional contact with other members of the firm was also a pleasant experience at all times.

November 2019
– David Pellett

We found the whole experience of writing our will very quick and simple. We thought Charlotte was brilliant, very knowledgeable and explained everything in simple English! Thank you.

May 2017
– Mrs R McLaughlin

I recently used the services of Ms Vanessa Ruparel at Barrett and Co to prepare a Will on my behalf. She was extremely professional and also gave me some excellent practical advice. This enabled me to consider some alternative ways to deal with my estate and overcome some tricky issues that were concerning me, to ensureall my loved ones are adequately provided for. I am very pleased with the outcome which has been made possible through her much appreciated assistance.

January 2020
– Anonymous

  • review rating 5  I used Barrett and Co for my will via the Will Aid scheme. They were very professional, efficient and friendly. They took time to explain things simply and effectively - offering advice on the implications of different scenarios and ensuring I 'future proofed' my will. Very pleased with the service all round. Charlotte Fox was excellent.

    thumb Gilly Lea
    1/22/2020
  • review rating 5  Very professional and extremely thoughtful. We choose to complete our Wills through Barrett and Co twice, and both times they have made it a simple and efficient service. We would highly recommend.

    thumb Mark Ayckbourn
    1/02/2020
  • review rating 5  Upon needing some much needed employment related legal advice I was very lucky to come across Barrett and Co. The whole process was fluid, simple, yet professional right through from my initial enquiry to leaving the office happy and eased of mind. I would highly recommend Barrett and Co to anyone that requires legal advice of any nature; my particular case, whilst not overly complicated, regardless left me wanting reassurance and security. A quick call, appointment booking, and a 1 hour meeting with Justin later provided me with both.

    thumb Jack Earith
    12/23/2019
  • review rating 5  I found Barrett & Co via a search on Will Aid 2019 and was lucky enough to get an appointment with Vanessa Ruparel, one of the Solicitors. The whole process of getting our wills done was very smooth and professional. Service was of high quality and very friendly. I would certainly recommend Barrett & Co. Many thanks Vannessa 🙂

    thumb Neil Cockburn
    12/20/2019
  • review rating 5  I found Justin Sadler and his support team very knowledgeable, and they supported us very professionally through our case. They not only had the right legal and procedural knowledge but also the practical experience of handling cases to guide us through a difficult process. Well recommended.

    thumb Tony Butcher
    12/16/2019
  • review rating 5  Absolutely first class support and service. Mr.Wild who has been not only a great support but also a friend. He fought my corner and was understanding of my exceptional circumstances and the whole team have been amazing. The receptionist is first class everytime, very attentive when I went to the offices and knew who I was when I rang, made me feel supported st every step. Highly recommend this service

    thumb Fred Swanborough
    12/01/2019
  • review rating 5  I have used Barrett & Co on several occasions and had excellent service from them. Richard Ince and his team have just completed the purchase of a house for myself, they were always on top of any issues and concerns from myself and the seller's solicitors and brought to my attention any points that they had concerns about. They could always be contacted and sent regular updates. I would definitely use them again

    thumb David Newman
    11/27/2019
  • review rating 5  Thank you to Chris Miller sorting out the payment issue with advertising company but decision not gone my way in the Court. Chris done everything he can and I will be using this firm for my future assistance if needed. Thank you again Chris.

    thumb Kathirgamanathan Balendran
    11/27/2019