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Wills aren’t something you think about often, and life can be busy – but that’s not a reason to put off writing your Will. We can fit in around your busy lives and talk when it’s convenient for you; whether that be daytime, evenings, weekends or even during your lunch break. We offer appointments at a place of your choosing; home, work, over video call or elsewhere. It really doesn’t have to be a headache and could actually save you and your family a lot of hassle in the long run.
Planning for our death is not something most of us enjoy doing but we do it to try and take some of the burden away from our loved ones. We understand this and try to make your Estate Planning experience as straightforward as possible. We can guide you through the whole process and offer advice tailored to your specific circumstances. We work on a fixed fee basis so there are no nasty surprises. It may seem like a daunting task but the process is actually very straightforward and takes far less time than you think. It is the only way to protect your family and give you peace of mind.
There really is no time like the present – call or message today to arrange an appointment convenient for you.
What is included with our Standard Berkshire Will writing service?
A qualified Lawyer will manage your case from start to finish – our personal service means you will always have one point of contact.
A face-to-face meeting to take your initial instructions (if face to face is not possible or convenient telephone or video appointments are also available).
A full estate review will be carried out to ensure that your Will is drafted in the most efficient way to ensure as much as is possible of your Estate can be preserved for your loved ones.
Tax planning advice (if required).
Appointment of Executors and Trustees.
Appointment of Legal Guardians to look after your children.
Specific gifts of personal items.
Gifts of money.
If you are cutting anyone out of your Will, we will ensure your wishes are thoroughly documented in case a claim against your Estate has to be defended in court.
Full Attestation service – a qualified Lawyer will visit you in person to witness you executing your Will to ensure you meet the legislative requirements to validly execute your Will. If your Will is not validly executed, your Estate will pass under the rules of intestacy.
Trusts to ensure your minor children are looked after in the event of your death (if required).
Provision for your pets.
Organ donation preferences.
Telephone and email support.
A free Will review every 3 years if you require it.
What to consider when you write a Will
What happens if I don’t make a Will?
These case studies set out some of the scenarios and what can happen in each set of circumstances if there is no Will in place. They are real cases, but the names have been changed.
Case Study 1 – Married Couple with kids and no Will.
Amy’s husband Ben dies overnight from a brain aneurism. They have two young children.
Their Berkshire home was owned as joint tenants with a mortgage of £480K.
Ben had cash/ISAs worth approximately £100K & had taken out life insurance of £500K but not written it in trust.
Amy inherits the home automatically as the joint owner, but she is only entitled to the first £270K + half of Ben’s personal estate of £600K.
£165K is therefore held in trust for the children until 18 and can’t be used to clear the mortgage as intended.
Case Study 2 – Unmarried couple with kids and no Will.
John’s partner Sarah dies from her second bout of breast cancer. They have an 20 month old daughter and no Will in place.
Their home in Berkshire was worth £900K owned as joint tenants with a mortgage of £180K.
Sarah had cash of approx £50K but had not taken out life insurance as she had insurance through work. Sadly she had had to give up work 6 months before she died due to ill health and was then uninsurable.
John inherits the home automatically as the joint owner, but Sarah’s half is taxable as they were unmarried.
£50K plus personal effects is held in trust for their daughter to inherit at 18.
John has an IHT bill of £34K, no cash, no insurance and a mortgage to pay as well as childcare costs for his daughter.
Case Study 3 – Single person and no Will.
Catherine dies in a car crash aged 47. She is very wealthy, has no children and her many friends believed her to be single. She never makes a Will but had been meaning to do so for some time.
In the process of obtaining a Grant of Probate for her estate, it transpires that Catherine was in fact still married to someone she hadn’t seen for 25 years. Her husband had been so abusive & violent she had been too scared to serve him divorce papers as she didn’t want him to know where she lived.
Catherine’s friends were her family and had she made a Will they would probably been the beneficiaries of her substantial estate in Berkshire.
Catherine didn’t make a Will and as she was separated but still legally married, her abusive ex-husband was traced and by default inherited her entire net estate including all of her personal effects.
After you have written your Will, it is important to consider the safe storage of it. Only the original copy will be accepted and therefore, it is extremely important to protect it from certain risks, for example, fire, flood, loss and theft to name but a few. One place you should never keep an original Will is at home. If you have a fire, flood or burglary, you risk it being destroyed or damaged. If your Will is damaged in any way, then it may not be accepted, and your Estate would then pass under the rules of intestacy. You must keep your Will in a secure place; however, that place must be easily accessible when the document is needed! MGF Wills & Estate planning work with the National Will Safe. The National Will Safe is a complete document storage solution that solves all of the problems of protecting important legal documents, for a small annual fee. More information can be provided should you require it.
Frequently asked questions
Can I still use your Will writing Berkshire service if I live elsewhere?
Yes that’s perfectly fine, we provide our will writing services to everyone regardless of the location of their residence or estate. So if you live near Berkshire or on the other side of the country, just get started online and fill out the form with your address, and we’ll take care of the rest.
What happens if I die without a Will?
If you die intestate (without a will), your assets become subject to the rules of intestacy. These rules are somewhat outdated and many people are shocked to find out that those they would wish to inherit from their estate may not. If you die without leaving a Will then you give up control over how your assets are distributed. Your loved ones may end up paying more in Inheritance Tax, or worse, be forced to sell the family home. This can be very distressing at what is already a difficult time. In addition, if you leave no Will, your family may face delays, legal complications and additional costs. If you have a young family, making a Will is especially important as it enables you to not only make provision for your family financially, but also to appoint Guardians for your children and set up a Trust.
Can I write my own Will?
There is no legal reason why you cannot write your own Will – provided it is signed and witnessed correctly it would be a legally valid document. However, unless you are legally qualified it is not generally recommended. If you use any sort of technical language you are deemed to have understood the terminology used so unless your Estate is very straightforward and you do not own a property or have minor children it is best to seek the advice of a professional. If you draft your own Will any errors would not come to light until after your death at which time it would be too late to sort things out. Home-made or badly drafted Wills can be just as bad, and sometimes worse, than no Will at all.
Can I just use a DIY pack or one from a coupon website that costs under £20?
Who can I appoint as my Executors?
You can appoint anyone over the age of 18 years to act as your Executor. They may act alone or with others, up to a maximum of 4. Where minors are involved you should appoint a minimum of 2 Executors.
What is the difference between an Executor and a Trustee?
An Executor deals with your Estate immediately after your death. They are responsible for calling in all assets, paying all debts and distributing the Estate. Once all of this has been completed their obligations are dismissed. A Trustee is an ongoing position that lasts for as long as the Trust – where minors are involved this can be a number of years.
Do I have to have the same people as my Executors and Trustees?
Do I have to update my Will regularly?
It is up to you how often you choose to update your Will. There are no set rules but it is a good idea to review it every now and then to check it still reflects your wishes. Some major life events can also affect your Will, e.g. getting married or divorced or if you have a child. It is always worth reviewing it after these types of event as some of these will void any existing Will you may have. Ideally you should check over it every 2 – 3 years.
Where should I store my Will or LPA?
One place you should never keep an Original Will or LPA is at home. If you have a fire, flood or burglary, you risk losing them. If your Will or LPA is damaged in any way, then the courts could declare them invalid. You must keep your Will and / or LPA in a secure place; however that place must be easily accessible when the document is needed! MGF Wills & Estate planning work with the National Will Safe. The National Will Safe is a complete document storage solution that solves all of the problems of protecting important legal documents, for a small annual fee. By storing your Will in the National Will Safe, your Will will also be registered on the National Will Register so that it is easy to find in the event of your death. More information can be provided should you require it.