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Wills Frequently Asked Questions

At Sheppersons solicitors we are specialist in advising on planningcontact us your estate in the most effective and tax efficient manner possible. We can ensure that your wishes are carried out according to a professionally written Will.

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Wills. If you have other questions, or would like to speak to us, please contact us.

What happens if I don’t leave a Will?

If you die without making a Will you have died Intestate. With no Will in place your estate is distributed according to a set of statutory rules (the laws of Intestacy) which determine which family members receive what, in a fixed order. If you have no family members then your assets will go to the Crown.

The main problem with dying intestate is that you have no say in who gets what from your estate. Family members who you may not wish to could inherit your assets. Similarly, people who are not blood relatives but are close to you, such as unmarried partners, may not receive anything.

It is therefore critical that you make a Will to ensure that those you choose receive your assets.

Please see our page on the Laws of Intestacy.

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To save money, can I make a Home made Will?

Home made Wills are rarely suitable and are often not effective at the time of death. People are often attracted to making a home made Will to save money, but the issue which often arises is that errors in writing the Will or getting it witnessed mean that at the time of death the Will is often not valid and is therefore disregarded. This leaves the estate in the same position as if the person had died Intestate.

This can in turn lead to the assts not being distributed in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.

A professionally written Will can be surprisingly inexpensive, and what you are really paying for is the advice of a trained solicitor who will ensure that your wishes are carried out.

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I have a Will, how often should I update it?

It is important that your Will it is kept up to date to reflect your changing circumstances. You should review your Will whenever your circumstances change in any significant way.

Factors which may affect your Will include:contact us

As a general rule it is recommended that you have your Will checked at least every 5 years to ensure that it still reflects your requirements.

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What are mirror Wills?

Some couples ask for joint Wills, but each person must have their own separate Will.

Mirror Wills are when both parties have the same Will but in reverse, for example, a married couple who leave everything to the other partner and thereafter to the children.

The cost of mirror Wills, when made at the same time, is usually less than the cost of two Wills written separately.

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Can I appoint someone to look after my children in a Will?

If your children are under 18, you can appoint guardians for them in your Will. A guardianship clause will ensure that should you die your children will be looked after by the people you nominate and this decision will not be left to chance or decided by the courts.

Including a guardianship clause in a Will can also help to avoid disputes between family members who may disagree on who should take care of the children.

By stating your wishes in a Will you can make it clear exactly what you would like to happen.

Please see our page on Guardianship of your children.

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I have remarried, can I leave my house to my children from an earlier marriage but still allow my current spouse to live in it?

This is becoming a more and more common issue where people have accrued assets such as property during an earlier marriage and wish to leave that property to the children of that marriage.

It is possible to ensure the financial security of your current spouse whilst still protecting your children’s inheritance.

To achieve this you need a special type of Will called a ‘Life Interest Will’. Please contact us or see our separate page in Life Interest Wills.

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