MAKING A WILL
Making a will is something many people put off, assuming that it is a complicated and time-consuming process, although it doesn’t have to be. E J Winter & Son has specialised in preparing wills for our clients for almost a century now and have an incredibly thorough yet streamlined process.
In most cases, a will is completed in two meetings. The first meeting normally takes somewhere between half an hour to an hour, depending on the complexity of your affairs and can take place in person or remotely.
During the initial meeting, we consider your family dynamic, your inheritance tax position and asset ownership structure. We then discuss what you are looking to achieve and take instructions from you. A first draft of your will is sent to you shortly thereafter, together with a detailed commentary on your new will and a tax guide.
Once we have answered any queries you may have arising from the first draft of your will and we have made any amendments or additions that you may require, we arrange a second meeting, which generally takes around 20 minutes to half an hour, during which your will is signed. Alternatively, we can send you out a hard copy for signature at home or at work together with a set of clear instructions guiding you through the process of signing your will correctly.
That’s it, after this we store your will securely for you and send you out a signed copy for your own records.
why use a solicitor?
Although we make the process of making a will as simple for our clients as possible, there is no getting away from the fact that this is one of the most important documents anyone makes, which is why it is so important that you use a solicitor specialising in this area to prepare your will for you.
Choosing to make your will with E J Winter & Son ensures that your will is prepared by a firm with almost 100 years of history, by a qualified solicitor who is fully regulated, trained and insured. Will writers are usually cheaper than solicitors, but this is because no professional qualifications are required to become a will writer and they are generally neither regulated nor insured. Making your will with an established solicitor’s firm offers far more protection than the alternatives.
what can go wrong?
When it comes to the preparation of wills, there are many potential pitfalls which we unfortunately see many DIY wills, wills prepared by will writers and even solicitors who do not specialise in this area fall foul of. We have listed some of the more common ones below:
Unless made in contemplation, marriage revokes a will. We sadly see it all too often where people die intestate because they were not aware of this.
Assets owned by more than one person which are held as joint tenants pass by survivorship. We have seen many wills over the years try to dispose of such an asset even though this is not possible without converting the form of ownership to a tenancy in common.
Life insurances such as death in service policies are often written in trust. They should be dealt with using a nomination form issued by the provider, rather than being referred to in a will, otherwise significant problems can arise.
It is generally not possible to bequeath a pension by a will. The legal owners are pension trustees.
Advice should generally be taken in the country where the assets are located, as they may not accept an English will. The Brussels IV regulations now make succession of EU assets more straightforward, but a suitable choice of law clause will need to be included in the will.
Unless a trust is used, couples with children from previous relationships have no certainty that their surviving partner will continue to provide for their children after they die.
Whilst they can simply leave everything to each other, this can cause a significant inheritance tax problem on the second death unless a suitable trust is used. The worst case scenario can be an unnecessary charge to inheritance tax in excess of £100,000.
care home fee planning
We can prepare wills that protect assets for future generations. Although you have to use your own assets to fund your own care should you need it, if you die without needing care, it is possible to ringfence your assets in a suitable trust.
A properly drafted trust ensures your surviving partner or spouse is protected, whilst at the same time keeping your capital ringfenced from funding their long-term care or affecting your surviving partner or spouse’s entitlement to means tested support.
WILLS, PROBATE & POWERS OF ATTORNEY TEAM