Making a Will

What happens on my death if I do not have a Will?

If you do not have a will, when you die you are deemed to have died "intestate". 

This means the Intestacy Rules come into play and your estate will be divided between your relatives in accordance with the Rules.  In some instances the Rules can cause problems for the surviving relatives – for example there is no automatic transfer of the whole of the deceased person's estate to their husband or wife – how much the remaining spouse is entitled to depends upon the family circumstances, for example whether there are children etc, and the amount received depends upon the total value of the assets left by the deceased person.  In some instances it could be other family members who become beneficiaries even though this would not have been the intention of the person who has died.

Unmarried partners are also at risk under the Rules as the notion of a "common law" husband or wife has no meaning in English Law in relation to division of estates on intestacy.  Even though unmarried couples may have been together for many years under the Rules they are not recognised as a relative.  Therefore the surviving partner would potentially receive nothing from their deceased partner in the event of their death and may have to resort to potentially time consuming and expensive litigation to prove their right to receive a benefit – clearly not something anyone would wish to consider at any time, particularly after losing a loved one.

How Can These Problems be Avoided?

The solution to all of these problems is to make a Will.

Who Should Make a Will?

Everyone should make a will.  This includes married couples (either with or without children) single people, divorcees and people who have been widowed.

What Puts People Off Making Wills?

There are many reasons why people do not make wills.  These include feeling they do not have sufficient assets to make making a will worthwhile, fearing the process will be long winded, complicated and expensive and even that by thinking about making their will they may be "tempting fate".

How Can We Help?

At Rollasons we aim to make making a will as simple and convenient as possible and we hope to be able to dispel some of the fears and concerns referred to above.

Regarding costs, we offer competitive fixed rate prices for single wills and wills being made by couples (whether married or unmarried).  We can also offer home visits for clients who are unable to come into the office or visits to hospitals or nursing homes  in the local area should these be required.  We will be happy to supply no-obligation quotations in respect of our fees on request. 

Regarding complexity, we aim to make making your will as stress free as possible – we will meet with you to discuss your requirements and then produce a draft will for you to consider.  We aim to deal with clients in clear plain English, without the need for "legal jargon" that can be off putting!!  Only when you are happy will we arrange a further meeting to see you to sign the originals.  We also offer a free storage facility for your Wills after they have been made and provide copies to you for your own records.

To help you consider the points you need to think about before making your Will click here for our Will Questionnaire (which is based on the approved Law Society Questionnaire) which guides you through the matters you should consider.

What If I Have Already Got a Will?

We would suggest it may be appropriate for you to review your will, to see whether your circumstances have changed – for example have you married or divorced? (in which case wills can be invalidated), have you had any children since you made your wills? (in which case you will need to think about guardians for them in the event of your death) or have any beneficiaries you have included in your will predeceased you?  If there have been any changes to your family circumstances your will may need reviewing to ensure it still does what you want it to.

You may also wish to review your will if your financial status has changed since making it – for example do you now need to think about possible tax planning if the value of your estate has increased?

It may be that following your review you are happy your will does not need updating or amending, but at least you will have considered matters before deciding you do not need to do anything at the present time.

What Do I Do Next?

If we can be of any assistance in connection with making wills, reviewing old wills or if you wish to discuss matters in more detail then please do not hesitate to contact us.