Wills & Living Wills
Do I Need A Will?
If you die without a legal Will in England or Wales then the law will decide who gets what, meaning your loved ones, or your favourite charity, might not receive what you would like them to receive after your passing.
It could also mean that your estate could be left to an estranged family member instead of your nearest and dearest.
If you die without a Will and have no living family members, all your property and personal possessions (including your pets) will go to the Crown.
A Will can also help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that might be payable on the value of the property and money you leave behind.
Leaving a valid Will brings you peace of mind and also takes some pressure off your family and friends at a very difficult time.
Making a Will
Making a Will can be a very simple process; if you have a small family and want to leave everything to them then it will be relatively straightforward.
If you have more complex needs such as a second family, or you want to leave gifts for lots of people or registered charities, then you will need to plan more carefully.
As much as a Will lets people know who will benefit after your passing, you can also ensure your assets don’t fall into the wrong hands.
It’s also important that you keep your Will up to date.
New children, new relationships, business partners, fallings out, legal changes – these are just some of the factors that can change how your assets are shared out if you don’t update your Will.
You will also need to decide who will be in charge of following your instructions, the ‘executor’, you can name more than one person if you wish.
Your Will doesn’t just include how you would like your estate to be divided, you can also use it to outline any other wishes, such as instructions for your funeral.
Your executor should be someone you trust to carry out your wishes as far as is possible after death.
But I’m young, I don’t need a Will!
Putting off making a Will because of your age is a mistake that is too often made.
We live in an uncertain world and you should never underestimate the importance of writing a will and documenting your wishes, especially if you’re considering starting a family or business.
Every adult should make a Will, declare an executor and Lasting Power of Attorney.
By doing so, you’ll ensure that your loved ones are provided for in the way that you want and, should anything untoward happen to you, that close family members can take charge of your affairs without delay.
You may have heard the term “Living Will” used and not been sure what it involves.
The issue of Living Wills is now being discussed more frequently in today’s society because people want to have a say in what their medical treatment should be or about life-saving treatment, in the event that an illness or accident leaves them without the capacity to make decisions.
You can now execute a Living Will (or “Advance Directive” as it is officially called), which gives specific guidance to the healthcare professionals treating you if you should be unfortunate enough to suffer an illness or be involved in an accident which renders you unable to make decisions about your treatment or whether any life support machine is turned off.
These documents have finally received legal recognition.
As an alternative to making a Living Will you could set out the same instructions in a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Please contact us if you want advice on your options for deciding what you want to happen if you are incapacitated and do not want your loved ones to have the burden of making emotionally demanding decisions as to your treatment.
Our friendly and professional team of family solicitors in Liverpool and Southport can help and guide you through every stage of the process.