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- It hasn’t been updated for more than 3 years and could be outdated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 [email protected] 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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“Vanessa was extremely helpful to us and was very sympathetic with her advice.”August 2021Eileen Pearce
Even apparently simple probate issues can turn out to be harder to sort out than expected. Just when I thought all the issues concerning my mother's estate had been resolved, an oversight by myself emerged. Despite the relatively modest sum involved, the third party looked set to play the "computer says no" game. Fortunately the intervention of Hilary and Vanessa quickly resolved the issue. It is when things don't go smoothly that one finds out the quality of your solicitors, and Barrett & Co did not let me down.March 2021– R.M., Didcot
“The service I received was excellent, Charlotte Fox was very helpful and making a Will was easier and more straightforward than I thought it would be thanks to Charlotte. I would recommend Barrett and Co and if I needed to I would use them again.”June 2021– Anonymous
“Vanessa was very good and considerate of our needs.”April 2021– Anonymous
I live in Adelaide, South Australia and found Barrett and Co through the internet. I needed help with a matter in England.
The early advice and guidance from Nick and his colleagues, ensured I was well prepared for our one-hour online meeting. During this meeting, they addressed all my concerns and outlined the options available to me. This gave me the confidence, to make sound decisions as I move forward with my matter and happy in the knowledge that I can contact them again, should I require further advice.
I have the highest regard for their professionalism and the respectful way they dealt with me during our meeting, and I happily recommend them to anyone needing legal advice.December 2020– Anonymous
I had a very delicate but deeply personal matter that I needed professional legal help with. In short it involved a matter of my father's will, inheritance and money owed to me from a sibling. After much research I contacted Justin at Barrett and co. After an hours consultation with him and Hilary Buckle I gained the confidence to take further steps. It was in their mannerism and approach and they even gave me a written quote detailing exactly what stage they would charge me for, and even this quote was much lower than other specialist solicitors. They were so considerate with me and their reputation so high that my sister instantly gave me large sum of money owed to me and as a bonus all siblings have begun mending our relationship.February 2020– Azam Khan
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 ensure all 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
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