Wills and Probate
PELS Solicitors can draft your will and advise you on the effect of certain clauses. We can guide you on the probate process in relation to the necessary documentation and procedures to follow. We also draft Living Wills as well as Advance Directives. Instructions can be taken in English and Punjabi.
What is a will?
- A Will is a legal document in which you state what you would like to happen to your estate. Your estate comprises:
- your house (less any outstanding mortgage or other loans secured on it),
- cash and savings,
- your car,
- household and personal effects,
- proceeds from any life assurance policies and
- Pensions where there isn't a named beneficiary.
Why should you make a will?
- A will ensures that your wishes are met when you die.
- It provides you with reassurance that your estate goes to the people you want it to.
- You can specifically advise who you are leaving your estate to and explain why you are not leaving your estate to somebody. This can avoid disputes between family and relatives, as your wishes are clearly stated.
- It can be a great tax planning tool that allows you to reduce any inheritance tax payable on your estate.
- You can specifically state what your funeral wishes are.
- You can exclude people from benefitting from your estate.
What happens if I don’t make a will?
- If you do not make a will then your estate will be distributed via intestacy rules, (i.e. the government) states who should get what amount depending on the total net value of your estate, which means your estate may not go to who you want to. Wills are widely available on the internet for as low as £40.00. However, these Wills do not advise you on your individual circumstances, nor do they provide you with any tactical advice in relation to your assets.
What do you include in your will?
- You would need to consider what actually makes up your estate (as above) and who you wish to leave everything to?
- Who you wish to act as executor (manager) of your Will
- Who you wish to act as guardian of your children and how you wish to provide for your children's upkeep
- How you would like your funeral conducted and any religious preferences.
- Whether you wish to donate your organs or donate your body for medical research
- How to provide for your pets or favourite charity
What are Executors?
- One very important part of your Will is the naming of who you would like to act as your executor. Your executor is the person who will administer your Will after your death. They are like managers of your estate. They can be anyone you choose, for example:
- Your husband, wife or partner
- Your son or daughter (if over 18 at the time of your death)
- Your brother or sister
- A close friend
- A beneficiary in your Will
- As a courtesy, it is always best to ask the person whom you wish to appoint whether they are willing to act. The duties of an executor are varied and can be very time consuming. As a result, people chosen to be executors, when called upon to act, often appoint a professional firm to help. The costs and expenses incurred by executors, including the professional firm's fees, however, can be recouped from the estate.
- We can also help you to challenge a will if you think that you should have been provided for but you have been excluded.
What happens if you don’t make a Will?
- If you are married and have children, then your Spouse will only be entitled to the first £270,000 of your estate. Any amount after this, will then be divided between your children and Spouse equally. If you are married and do not have children, then you entire estate will go to your Spouse. If you are not married and co-habit, then you have no entitlement to your partner's assets unless there is a Will in place. Their assets will go to their parents and intestacy line as per the law. This rule does not apply to civil partnerships as they now have legal classification in the same way as a marriage does. By making a Will, you can specify your wishes entirely.