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If so well done, you are already way ahead of most of the adult population. If you don’t have a will then what is stopping you from making one?
Having a will and knowing where it is stored are two different things. We regularly see clients at Emmersons Solicitors who know that they did make a will, but they can’t remember where it is or they can’t remember which solicitor may be storing the document for them. They, therefore, instruct us to draft a new will on their behalf.
A will should be looked upon as a document that needs to be refined from time to time. Life changes constantly, and so do your circumstances.
Can you remember fifteen years ago moving in with your first boyfriend or girlfriend? Your first home together, you took your solicitor’s advice and made a will when you bought the house. But what happened when you went your separate ways? Is your will still sitting there waiting to benefit your first love?
Remember Lily, your very kind neighbour when you lived at Acacia Avenue? You were extremely grateful when she did your shopping for you after you had your hip operation. But then you moved in order to go and live in a more suitable home. Have you seen Lily during the last eight years, have you telephoned one another? Do you still want her to have the first £10,000 of your estate?
Who are the Executors of your estate? Did you appoint your friend who is the same age as you? Are they still in good health? Is it fair to ask them to deal with a huge amount of paperwork and to take on the legal responsibility of dealing with your Probate?
Have you checked your existing will to make sure that all beneficiaries are still alive? Does your nephew who is now a rich adult still need money from your estate?
As you can see there are many reasons why you should change your will, or indeed make your first will. I know that many people avoid making their will in case this tempts fate, or they don’t want to think about death. However, not making a will, or not leaving your estate to the right people can mean an awful lot of heartache for those you leave behind.
Please do not assume that just because you live with your partner that they will inherit your estate. If you are not married to one another and not in a Civil Relationship then they are not your next of kin. This means, that without a will, they may not inherit anything from your estate. Instead, your spouse will inherit, if you are still married to someone else, or your children followed by your parents.
You may think that dealing with wills and probate is not very exciting. However, believe you me it becomes very exciting when someone dies without a will. Emmersons Probate Law specialists deal with cases that wouldn’t look out of place in a novel or a tv drama!
What about the deceased who led a double life? He had a wife and children in the North East and a partner down South with whom he lived when he was working away during the week. Of course, it never occurred to him to make a will to determine what would happen to the house in the South. His partner had lived with him for over two years, and she was able to say that she was financially dependent upon the deceased. She, therefore, made a claim against his estate as did his wife. What a costly mess for all concerned. It cost thousands of pounds for the two women to sort that situation out via the courts.
I had a relative who married in the 1950’s. His wife left him after a year and he never saw her again. My relative was in poor health and his sister cared for him for years. Forty years after his wife left he died without having written a will and having refused, for religious reasons, to obtain a divorce. The family didn’t know if his wife was still alive or if she had divorced my relative without his knowledge. You just know what the answer is going to be...yes, she was still alive and no they weren’t divorced. Lucky for her, she inherited his house, savings and pension.
Making a will does not take up much of your time. At Emmersons we also give you lots of ideas to help with tax planning, arranging what will happen to any business you run, we will ensure that the right people are provided for (you can’t ignore any child of yours under the age of 18 whether you still see that child or not). We will help you to make choices regarding your children and grandchildren. We are also specialists when it comes to dealing with vulnerable clients including those who have Dementia.
Our staff are trained Dementia Friends and will go the extra mile for you and your family.
If you would like to discuss your options regarding your will, or indeed the will of someone who has just died, then please do not hesitate to contact us on:
Our Gosforth ofﬁce is located at 137A Back High Street NE3 4ET - call in and see us at any time. We have wheelchair access, you can be dropped off at our front door, and there is free parking on the adjoining streets.
You can also park opposite our Sunderland Office on John Street.