These notes provide some additional information concerning Wills. Please note that once your Will has been prepared do not try to alter it in anyway (for example by adding words) and do not attach, pins, paperclips, fastens etc or other documents to your Will.
If you have a prepaid funeral plan please forward the details to us and we can store the information for your Executors. We are accredited providers of funeral plans through one of the biggest UK companies, Golden Leaves. If you would like more information on this please contact us.
Under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 if someone is dependent upon you and is not reasonably provided for in your Will, they are allowed to bring an action against your estate within six months of your estate’s grant of probate. Under UK law the following people who are classified as dependants can make a claim against your estate:
-Your husband or wife
-Your former husband or wife who has not re-married unless barred on divorce (i.e. the divorce was in ‘full and final settlement’)
-Your children including adopted children whether formally or otherwise, this includes children you or your spouse have treated as children of the family even though you are not related to the children
-Any person treated as a child of a marriage you have been party to
-A partner who has lived with you for more than 2 years immediately before your death
-Any person who was dependent upon you to a material extent immediately before your death
What is 'reasonably provided for' depends on the size of your estate and the relationship you have with the individual. The court will look at various factors, including the age of the applicant, the relationship, the contribution made by the applicant to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family.
It is strongly advisable to include with your Will a letter explaining why you do not wish to provide for an individual in the above list and this can be read to the court if a claim is made against your estate. The court can take this letter into consideration and it may affect the claimant’s chances of success, the existence of such a letter is often a strong deterrent to prevent an individual making a claim in the first place.
The letter does not have to be witnessed but it should be signed by you. Below is an example of such a letter:
To my executors (in reference to my last Will and testament insert date)
I (insert your name) of (insert address) hereby declare that I have made (insert ‘no’ or ‘no further’ as appropriate) provisions for (insert name and relationship with individual) in my Will of this date because (state reason e.g. I consider that I have fulfilled my obligations to him in my lifetime)
Dated this (insert date)
Signed (insert your signature)
It is advisable to sign and date this letter the same time as your Will.
More information on this issue can be found at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/ihtmanual/IHTM35231.htm
Looking After Your Will
We offer free lifetime storage for any Will prepared by us. You will receive a unique reference number once placed in storage and information on how to retrieve the document.
Alternatively, you may wish to keep the Wills at your home. Providing you are careful you could take on the responsibility and many individuals keep their Will with the rest of their paperwork.
Whichever method you adopt you should make at least two copies of your Will. Keep a copy in a separate place away from the original in case of fire, flood or other such events. Ensure you have the copy marked ‘duplicate’ or ‘copy’. A second copy should be kept with an Executor.
Information for your Executor(s)
The most important information is to tell them where you are keeping your Will (with the Will can be the additional documents mentioned in section 2 above).
Your Executors can also contact us for free advice on probate so please pass on our details to them.
When to review your Will
As a general rule, if your personal or financial circumstances change it makes good sense to check the content of your Will. Even without any significant change in your life we would advise you to review your Will every 3-5 years.
It may be that the law and practice will change in relation to an aspect of your Will and therefore require updating. If you contact us we will be happy to review your Will for you at anytime, but we will not do this automatically. Simply call us for a review.
Key changes that should trigger a review are:
-Your family situation changes, either a new life or a death
-If you separate from your partner
-If you buy or sell anything specifically gifted in your Will
-If the circumstances of a beneficiary changes e.g. a name change
-If you move to live outside the UK
-If you adopt or have (additional) children
-If you wish to change any Executor, Trustee or Guardian in your Will
-If you have a rethink about the content of your Will
-If you divorce, your former partner is treated as if they had never been mentioned in your Will
Your Will is revoked:
-If you marry or enter into a civil partnership any previous Will you made becomes invalid unless it was made in anticipation of the ceremony.
-You destroy your existing Will, with the intention of destroying it
-You make a new one and revoke your old Will
We hope this information will be of benefit to you and if you have any questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0117 369 1969.