Rebecca Suthers
Senior Associate & Chartered Legal Executive
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Date Published:01 Apr 2020 Last Updated:12 Apr 2021

The importance of making a Will

Wills, Trusts & Probate

In light of the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, we are receiving a number of questions around the need to make a Will. We have provided details of some of these questions below with our advice:-

Do I need a Will?

If you do not have a valid Will when you pass away, you are considered to have died intestate. This means that you will not be able to choose who inherits your estate. Instead, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the Intestacy Rules between certain relatives and this will vary depending on your personal circumstances. Unfortunately, if you and your partner are not married or in a civil partnership, then they will not be entitled to a share in your estate. Neither will your friends, step-relatives or any charities you support.

The purpose of a Will is therefore to clearly set out who you wish to inherit your estate and give you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of.

What do I need to think about when I make a Will?

Due to the various considerations that need to be taken into account when making a Will we would always recommend that you seek specialist legal advice. Whilst making a Will can often seem simple and straightforward, there are often aspects to your own personal circumstances which must be carefully considered and individual advice provided. That advice will enable your legal advisor to draft a Will specific to your needs.

When considering your personal circumstances, we would take into account not only the value of your estate and whether Inheritance Tax Planning is required, but also potential care costs, your family relationships and other matters such as foreign property, businesses and even pets.

Do I need to keep my Will updated?

Once you have a valid Will in place, you should review it regularly. Depending on your personal circumstances and any changes to them this should be every 5 years or so.

If there are changes you wish to make to your Will then you should discuss these with your legal advisor who can provide appropriate advice. During these uncertain times your Will is one of the most important documents you should have and therefore we would strongly advise you to contact us if you do not have a Will or wish to make changes to an existing one.

Social Distancing

With the rapidly changing situation regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), we would like to reassure you that we are still fully operational and able to provide all our legal services remotely to support you through these difficult times. In line with recent Government guidance our receptions have now closed, however we have a robust expert team working from home to provide our normal level of service online, via email, over the phone or via video conferencing. Depending on your circumstances we may also be able to witness your Will.

If you require any advice in relation to the above, please do not hesitate to contact us at wills@ellisjones.co.uk or on 01202 525333.