1. How Much Does a Will Cost? We Just Want Something Simple.
We always wish that this wasn’t the first question asked – but it so often is. It definitely isn’t the most important question so please do read on. Often people say they want something simple and in reality they don’t. Getting things right takes time.
A Will should not be a standard off the shelf product from someone who does not understand you, your assets and your wishes. Most people would not make an important purchase on price alone and legal advice is like everything else, you get what you pay for.
An initial consulation (a telephone call or online video call) of up to 30 minutes is always free and then we agree a fair fee with you before we do the work and once we understand your circumstances.
We want you to be really happy with what we do for you so that you will recommend us to others. A simple Will usually leaves everything to one person or one group of people and does not create any trusts to protect assets.
The cost of an expert Will is money well spent when put in context with the value of your assets that you want to protect and pass on. Remember that one week alone in a nursing home may cost more than £1,000.
2. We are a Couple, do we Need Separate Wills?
Yes, joint Wills are rare and problematic!
3. Do I Need a Will?
Yes if you are over 18 and have assets. A will is the only way to be sure your wishes will be carried out. We spend a lifetime collecting assets and a Will is one of the most important legal documents you will ever sign. Never rely on the Intestacy Rules or those you leave behind to ‘do the right thing’.
4. How do I Make a Will?
Contact us. We promise to make it easy for you to write your Will and give you the best advice. Remember, initial 30 minute consultations (telephone or online video call) are free.
5. Do I Need to Come to Your Office to Make a Will?
Not always but making a Will is very important and face to face conversations are usually the best – an online video call is a good way to get started. Sometimes we visit clients at their own home and as this usually involves more time our charges will generally be higher to cover this. You must say what will be best for you and we will always try and help.
6. Do you advise about Inheritance Tax when I Make my Will?
Yes. We give expert advice on the reliefs that are available and how to maximise them. We are STEP members and have considerable experience and expertise. We also work with accountants and Financial Planners to provide solutions.
7. Can you do Something to Safeguard Assets if I go into a Care Home?
Yes and our expert advice is essential here because you cannot deliberately deprive yourself of assets so that you cannot pay for your care. Sometimes a person will be eligible for continuing Healthcare Funding from the NHS where they have a primary need for nursing care. In these cases care is provided free of charge by the NHS regardless of means.
We can advise you of ways to safeguard your assets and protect them for your beneficiaries. We advise on the best ways of making gifts and the advantages of creating trusts in your lifetime and by your Will. We also make sure you understand how some legal arrangements can limit you care choices in the future, and this may not be what you want.
8. What are ‘Tenants in Common’?
This refers to a type of joint ownership of property. If you want to include certain trusts in your Will then you may need to own your property as ‘tenants in common’ and usually (but not always) this will be in equal shares. This means that each person owns a distinct half-share in the property which can then pass or be controlled by their Will. Legally this is different to owning as ‘joint tenants’ where the whole property is owned together, meaning that the property can only pass automatically to the surviving owner. It is easy to become tenants in common so that your Will trusts work. We prepare a joint ownership declaration and advise you about other protection which comes through different types of Land Registry restrictions.
9. I am a Single Parent; can my Choice of Guardians be Challenged After I Die?
Yes. Your wishes will be taken into account but if there is a dispute about matters after you die then the Court will be asked to decide what is in your child’s best interests.
10. We Don’t Know who to Appoint as Guardians, can we Still Make a Will?
Yes. The decision about who to appoint as guardians can be a very tricky one and if you really cannot decide, do not let this stop you making a will. A couple can appoint their respective parents to share the responsibility or nominate other people. You should make appropriate financial provision for the guardians to bring up your children and probably include trusts to protect assets for your children until they are old enough to inherit. It is sometimes advisable for the guardians to be different people to your Executors. Sometimes a separate letter of wishes with your Will can be very helpful.
11. Can my Will and Wishes be Challenged After I Die?
Yes. No one should give you a guarantee that your Will cannot be challenged. As experts we foresee many potential challenges and advise you how to reduce the prospect of a challenge being successful. There are only certain legal grounds upon which a Will can be challenged and only certain people will be able to bring a challenge.
12. Can you be our Executor and Will it be Expensive?
We are happy to act as a professional executor and trustee. As experts we will add genuine value, please see our page where we explain how we help when someone dies. We have an obligation to provide the best possible advice and will be liable and accountable to your beneficiaries if we do not. We must carry insurance to cover this. If you want us to be your executor and trustee we will tell you about our fees and ask you to confirm that you are happy about them. In the unlikely event that your beneficiaries do not want us to act as your executor, then subject to your lifetime wishes, we will normally agree to renounce our role. We would charge a fair fee to cover this work. We are open and fair about fees and we want happy clients to recommend us to others.
13. Can our Beneficiaries be our Executors?
Yes if they are aged over 18 and mentally competent. We advise you about the responsibilities and liability that being an Executor involves. Do not appoint Executors who cannot get on with each other and always consider whether your Executor will have a conflict of interest.
14. Where Does My Will Get Stored?
Usually we store your Will at our office and you keep a copy at home. We also register your Will with Certainty The National Will Register as this gives you and your beneficiaries some additional protection.
15. How Often Should my Will be Reviewed?
You should review your Will whenever your personal or financial circumstances change significantly. We recommend that you review your Will at least every 5 years.