Wills and Trusts

Why do I need to make a Will?

A “Will” is a legal document that spells out what you want to happen to your property and all the things you own after you die. Leaving behind a valid Will means that you can decide how everything you own – called your “estate” - is distributed after your death. A Will makes sure that you can provide for your partner, children and descendants. A Will specifies how you wish to divide your assets between them, and whether you want to make some specific gifts of money to individuals or charities, for example.

A Will can appoint people whom you trust to be the guardians of your children under 18, if it so happens that both parents die.

If you don’t make a Will, then the law decides who your assets should go to.

Should I set up a Trust?

Some people set up a “Trust” in their Will that sets out arrangements for looking after your underage children until they reach adulthood. In an typical arrangement, the Will might provide for any income to be paid to your spouse or partner while they are living, and then for all the rest of your “estate” to be handed on to your children after your spouse or partner dies. It is very important to make sure that the Trust is correctly drafted and takes into account tax arrangements. The instructions will need to be very clear, and should be best be written by an expert.

You can also write into your Will who you wish to appoint to be responsible for handling the arrangements after you die, getting your Will approved, and administering, distributing and “winding up” your estate. The people you appoint are called “executors” and the formal procedure for making sure the property and assets are transferred to those you have said should have them is called “probate”.

Some people also make a living Will, which spells out what they want to happen before they die should they reach a point when they are no longer able to make the decisions for themselves as a result of injury or medical condition.

It is worth planning ahead when making a Will. There will almost certainly be tax issues to take into account. You can take steps before you die to reduce the impact of inheritance tax on your estate.

Who is the best barrister for me?

myBarrister barristers include experts on all aspects of making a Will, how to set up a Trust, and on all matters to do with the arrangements after you die. Sometimes it happens that descendants say that the Will of the person who has died is not valid or correct, for whatever reason. Your barrister will be able to advise on contested Wills, and your best course of action.

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