Protecting last wishes

black and silver fountain pen
Drawing up a Will is the best way to ensure that your estate goes where you want it to. But to ensure it is legally-binding, it pays to seek professional advice.

Wills and probate can get confusing, but with the right advice you can help to prepare your family for what lies ahead.

A Grant of Probate is the legal link which confirms the validity of a Will (also known as a Grant of Representation which can encompass the Court documents where there may be either no Will, or a Will but no named executors to act).

Estate administration can get really complicated, and the length of time it takes will vary depending on a number of factors. It may be a simple process that takes a few months or it could be a highly complex one that takes years.

If you die without a Will, then your estate will be distributed according to strict intestacy laws, which could see loved ones disinherited. This means that making a Will is the best way to ensure your estate is distributed how you wish it to be. By outlining exactly who should receive what, you can make sure that everyone you care for is looked after.

This also gives you an opportunity to name your executor. This is the person in charge of distributing your estate, and is usually a family member or close friend. With a Will in place, you can be sure that your estate is left in the hands of someone you know and trust.

Unfortunately, disputes are common when it comes to distributing estates. Wills are often contested, so in order to make sure your wishes hold up in court, it’s important that you create a legally binding Will. The rules surrounding this are extremely specific, and the slightest error could invalidate the entire document.

When creating a Will, it’s crucial to seek professional legal advice. Even if you draw it up yourself first, make sure you get a solicitor to check it over and confirm that it is legally binding. This is also important if you make any changes, because if they aren’t done correctly, then the courts will fall back on the older version.

Seeking professional advice can also help to reduce the amount of inheritance tax owed on your estate. Your solicitor will be able to help you plan out your estate more effectively, taking advantage of any reliefs that are available to reduce the amount of tax due.

Whatever size your estate might be, we always recommend getting professional legal advice. That way, you can make sure your estate and family will be well looked after, no matter what happens in life.

Sophie Price, Director at Fodens Solicitors 

For more information, contact Sophie and the Fodens team on 01952 726111 or email hello@fodens.co.uk

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