Protecting Your Legacy: The Importance of Writing Your Will Properly

Tuesday 23rd May 2023

Whilst you may have heard of a Will, you might not realise the importance of having one yourself? If this resonates with you, you are certainly not alone, with a recent survey revealing that as many as half of UK adults don’t yet have a Will. 

So why is having a Will so important? Because if you die without a without a Will, there are certain rules defined by the Government that will dictate how your assets should be allocated; and it’s unlikely that this will be exactly what you wished for.

So why not look after your life earnings and make a Will today? 

In this blog we provide you with a helpful guide to Will’s, including writing a Will, how to contest them and why you should avoid doing it yourself at all costs. 

So, what actually is a Will?

A Will is a lot more than just a legal document. A Will is the most vital document you’ll need to ensure that when you die, your wishes are kept. It directs the distribution of your assets after your death and can appoint guardians for minor children. You can specify who will inherit your property and belongings and legally document what should happen after you die. Not only will it make things more straightforward for those you leave behind, but it will most importantly make it easier for them to cope with what will already be a stressful time. 

If not for you, put a Will in place for your loved ones.

But why is a Will so important?

You don’t want to let all of your hard work throughout your life go to waste. So, whilst you have the ultimate choice of whether to have a Will or not, it’s important that you have an understanding of the potential consequences of not having one. 
Without a Will you won’t have any say on where your money, property or possessions go when you die. This means that your loved ones might not receive anything at all. 
And besides this alone, there are many benefits to preparing a Will.

Some of these benefits include:

  1. Making sure that your possessions are distributed respectfully
  2. Minimising taxes payable so as much wealth as possible can be retained by your beneficiaries
  3. Providing peace of mind that your assets will be managed in accordance with your wishes
  4. Making the process for beneficiaries a lot smoother by having organised inheritance plans
  5. Shield your home from care fees
  6. Detail funeral wishes

You might want to also consider having Lasting Powers of Attorneys in place too. These can be made for both property and finances as well as health and welfare, allowing people chosen by you to make decisions on your behalf if you no longer have the capacity to make such decisions. Having a Lasting Power of Attorney avoids the Court of Protection deciding who should make financial or health decisions for you if this occurs – another reason why preparing a Will is so important.

But a DIY Will is not the way forward...

While there are ways to write your own Will and a growing number of templates available, it’s definitely not advised. 

By writing your own Will you are at risk of making mistakes that can lead to a contested and invalid Will. This could not only create complications at an already stressful time, but it could also leave your family with legal and financial problems on top of the emotional trauma of losing someone they love. 

Also beware of costly Will writing companies that might sell you services that you may not need and cause you further cost and taxation issues in the future. These mistakes can lead to all your assets being taken by legal bills or unnecessary tax.

Can you contest a family member’s Will?

If you do need to contest a Will, then there are ways to do so. Anyone can contest the validity of a Will. Issues often arise when a Will has not been fairly written with legal experts, so you might wish to contest a family member’s Will after their death. The party who wants to contest a Will is responsible for the initial legal costs of contesting and if successful, the losing party pays the winning party’s cost incurred. This means that the process can often be long, but when dealt with by professionals it can run smoothly.

While there is no legal requirement for a solicitor to be involved in contesting a Will, it is most definitely advised. Getting a legal expert to deal with your concerns can minimise the issues and potential costs that could occur should anything go wrong. 

At Howard & Over we can guide you through the whole process of contesting a family members Will so that you don’t have to worry about a thing. 

How you should write your Will...

To avoid any doubt and the risk of potential mistakes, we would strongly recommend placing the responsibility of writing your Will in the safe hands of a professional, like our legal experts at Howard & Over. 

Our Wills & Probates team are highly qualified to guide you through the entire process of creating and finalising your Will so that you and your loved ones don’t have to worry.

Ready to get started on your Will? We’ll make it easier for you!

Get in touch with our friendly team today!