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Making a will

(17 Posts)
numberplease Fri 23-Mar-12 16:50:18

Can anyone give me any information regarding the making of a will please? My hubby and I are both 68 and still haven`t got around to making wills. Do we HAVE to go through a solicitor, and roughly how much does it cost? And if we do have to do it through a sloicitor, why are will forms sold in places like W.H.Smith?

numberplease Fri 23-Mar-12 16:57:14

Oooops! Just realised there`s a legal section, should I have put this in there?

jeni Fri 23-Mar-12 17:03:29

No you don't but you have a fool for a lawyer if you do it yourself. My FIL inadvertently left his house to my SIL and the garage to my DH!

Mishap Fri 23-Mar-12 17:59:55

If the will is simple (e.g. - you leave everything to him if you die first and VV; and everything to be divided equally between the surviving children when the last partner dies) you can download a will template and just get it witnessed and signed. This is what we have done because we have no complicated things at all - just a house and a savings account.

The tiniest whiff of anything more complicated (e.g. former spouses, stepchildren, complicated financial bonds etc.) and I would be inclined to head towards a solicitor.

Pennysue Fri 23-Mar-12 18:00:00

Absolutely Jeni Lawyers make lots of money out of "home made Wills". I must have prepared hundreds of Wills during my working life and would not dream of doing my own.

One "home made Will" which I dealt with was so ambiguous that a Barrister was called in, luckily the family listened to his suggestions and agreed what their Father had actually meant rather than how it could have been interpreted. It still cost them £500 (18 years ago). The Gentleman who prepared his own Will worked in the Probate Registry!!!

numberplease Fri 23-Mar-12 20:54:55

There`s nothing complicated about what we`d be leaving, everything to each other, i.e. the house, car, caravan, and just about enough savings to pay for both funerals. Then we`ll each make it clear that after the last one is gone, everything to be divided equally between our 5 children.

Granb Mon 26-Mar-12 15:55:51

But what happens in the event that one of your 5 children pre-deceases you? Is their share to be left to their spouse, their children, your surviving four children? If you see a good solicitor, this kind of question will be dealt with.

numberplease Mon 26-Mar-12 17:41:39

Good point Granb, I didn`t consider that one.

Greatnan Tue 27-Mar-12 08:26:20

I don't have any choice in France - under the Code Napoleon it is impossible to disinherit your children and the percentage left to other relations is strictly defined. Expats who have stepchildren get into awful problems unless they take advice before they buy a property.
In spite of the actions of one daughter, I would still want to leave my flat (my only asset) equally to both of them, but there are people who have not seen a child for thirty years, or who know that the money would go on drink/drugs/gambling and still they cannot disinherit them. There is some talk of a change in the law but things move slowly. A friend has had to give up her life in France because she needs to set up a trust fund for a son with severe mental health problems.

I think many UK solicitors will offer to draw up a fairly simple will for about fifty pounds which seems a small price to pay for expert guidance
They will usually act as executors for a fee based on the amount of time involved, unlike banks which tend to charge a percentage of the estate regardless of how much work is involved. (Steer clear of banks whenever possible!)

I hope all gransnetters have taken the advice to make a folder with full details of your financial affairs, insurances, pensions, passwords, preferred funeral arrangements, medical intervention choice, etc. and given instructions to somebody trustworthy to open it when you die. And, of course, none of you are in ignorance of your partner's affairs, are you?

susiecb Tue 27-Mar-12 09:02:43

Even though you may think your bequests are uncomplicated the law surrounding probate seems to have been refined lately as we found when we had our will looked at and had to do a major rewrite but we used an on line company for about £100 plus about £40 I think to lodge it with the probate office and this step makes it much easier for your executors. They are given a certificate and they get the will from the probate office rather than having to search through your belongings. I was amazed at the way or simple will would have been interpreted/executed if we hadn't changed it.

HildaW Tue 27-Mar-12 17:43:49

Never too early really, well at least as soon as you have children and or a house. We sorted ours years ago and update it every ten years or so. In the early days we covered what would happen if the children were young (guardianship etc etc- reciprocal arrangement with sister) now its to include bequests to grandchildren etc. All I can say its amazing how 'funny' perfectly reasonable people can be once a will has to be acted upon. I believe citizens advise can help - and a decent solicitor should be happy to give you a quote for what you need.

crimson Tue 27-Mar-12 18:23:48

I used the Will Writing Company that come out to your home. But what I must do, and I keep forgetting to do so is check that they don't take a percentage of the inheritance. I'm sure I read that some banks or solicitors that keep the will for you do so and it can be 1 or 2%.

Granb Thu 29-Mar-12 14:27:11

crimson any percentage taken is not usually for 'keeping' your Will.

Most solicitors who have drawn up a Will for a client will not charge for storing it in their Deedsroom but some may charge a small fee (usually only a few pounds a year). Banks will probably also charge a small fee on an annual basis. They would both ony usually charge a percentage of your estate if you have appointed them as executors. Both should be able to tell you what percentage that will be (i.e. if your estate is worth £500k, their charge is 2%, their fees will be £10k plus VAT and other expenses) plus in most cases they will charge on top of this for time spent on your estate.

You do not have to appoint either as executors if you do not want to do so, and would always say that Will Writing Companies should not be appointed. You should certainly not be pressurised into appointing them.

Do check what provisions you have actually made with the Will Writing Company, that they are going to be doing exactly what you want and how much they will be charging you for doing it. I have heard in some cases that some companies have not charged for actually drawing up the Will and that the charge then comes out of the estate in a grossly inflated way.

Important thing to remember is that solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and must have compulsory indemnity insurance, whereas will writing companies are not regulated and most do not carry indemnity insurance

FlicketyB Thu 29-Mar-12 21:44:56

Do not under any circumstances appoint a bank as executor they take a much larger percentage of the estate than solicitors.

It is best to appoint non-professional executors - adult relatives, friends or whatever and then when you die they can get quotes from several firms of solicitors to administer the wind up of the estate and choose the one offering best service and price.

Wills can be changed after death using something called a Deed of Arrangement, but the agreement of all benificiaries is necessary before this can be done. My sister and I did this after our father died because for some reason he had added an extra clause to his will after my mother's death that complicated the administration of his estate. We were the only beneficiaries and we were both in agreement that the change should be made.

HildaW Fri 30-Mar-12 12:42:54

Flickety...you are so right.....and also try to go for someone from the next generation. My darling DIL is having no end of a job getting her FIL to change his will, he appointend his elder brother 30 odd years ago and this chap is now in his 70s whilst her FIL is still only in his 50s and a lot healthier!

opsimath Thu 26-Sep-13 21:02:18

My husband and I jointly own our house and almost all our savings and investments apart rom our ISA's. We were in the process uf updating our Wills when he becam ill and after a period in hospital came home. He has been diagnose with dementia and so is not allowed to alter his Will so the earlier arrangements must stand. I wouild like to alter mine because as things are he will automatically inherit the whole of our joint assets and so will be well provided for if I die first. I would like to leave the savings I have in my sole name to my granddaughter and her daughter. My solicitor says I must leave everything to my huband and if anything is left after he dies it will then go to our grandaughter as I wish. I cannot believe this is true, can anyone confirm or deny if this is the case?

sfeivel Fri 30-May-14 19:31:11

The little bit that you spend on a professionally drafted and executed Will could potentially save your estate much more in the long run. There are taxes and administrative costs that you can reduce or avoid altogether if you create a good estate plan.

Also, because there are many "terms of art" in the legal profession, it is easy for nonlawyers to misuse a legal phrase or term in such a way that it produces quite unintended results.

Moreover, if you do not understand the way non-probate transfers occur after death, you would not be able to synchronize the bequests under your Will with the results of non-probate transfers. You might think you are giving two beneficiaries the same amount, but if you do not take non-probate transfers into account, you could inadvertently cause one beneficiary to wind up with a whopping portion of your estate, whilst another beneficiary gets relatively little.

I think the best advice is to make the investment in a professionally drafted and executed Will and a thorough estate plan, because this can create much greater benefits to your loved ones in the long run.

See also,
doriuslaw.com/make-will-alabama-estate-planning-lawyer/