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What is a Will and do I need one?

A Will is a legal document that allows you to set out clearly what will happen to your assets when you die. Alarmingly around 60% of people in the UK have not made a Will.

Why should I make a Will?

Everyone aged 18 or over who owns property or has savings or has a child or children under 18  should have an up to date Will.  If you do not have a Will the person or people you wish to inherit your assets on your death may not receive them as the government will decide who inherits your assets and these people may not be the ones you wish to inherit anything from you. This can cause untold stress and anxiety for your loved ones as well as a potentially costly and lengthy legal dispute following your death.

What is usually included in a Will?

Firstly you can appoint an executor who is a person of your choice who you would like to sort out your estate on your death.  The executor is responsible for collecting in your assets, paying any debts and then distributing the estate in accordance with your Will.

You can also appoint a guardian for any children under 18 at your death in your Will so your wishes are clear who will look after your children again this can avoid a potential dispute. You can also specify who is to get what on your death which avoids any potential dispute after your death.

Who really should make a Will?

Anyone who owns property, has savings or has children should make a Will but especially anyone who isn’t married to their partner or has children to a previous marriage or relationship.  If you are not married and you do not make a Will your partner will not benefit from your estate and if you have re-married your children from a previous marriage or relationship may not benefit at all on your death.

As well as a Will should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Yes if you own property or have savings then you need to appoint someone to look after these if in the future you can look after them yourself and you can only do this by making a Lasting Power of Attorney for your Financial Decisions.  It is really important you do this while you are well as if you lose mental capacity due to a sudden event like a Stroke or long term condition like Dementia then you cannot make a Lasting Power of Attorney and your family would have to make an expensive and slow application to the Court of Protection which can easily be avoided if you plan ahead and make a Lasting Power of Attorney.

Who should I speak to about making a Will and a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Solicitor is a regulated and qualified professional and you should always use an estate planning solicitor to make your Will and a Lasting Power of Attorney. Sweeney Miller Law is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and David Smith is a Solicitor with Sweeney Miller and Head of their Wills & Probate Department. David has specialised in Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney for over 15 years and brings with him a wealth of experience and great advice.

David can be contacted on 0191 568 2050 or by email at david@sweeneymiller.co.uk and is always available to have an initial chat without obligation.

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