Have you a will in place?

Might you need it updated?

If you don’t have a will then why do you need one?

  •  To ensure your assets will be distributed according to your wishes
  •  To appoint guardians for minor children or dependents
  •  To appoint a trusted person to act as the executor of your estate
  •  To make your wishes known in respect of your funeral
  •  To save time, trouble and expense for your family

What happens if I don’t make a will?

If you die without leaving a will, you die “intestate”. Your estate will be administered according to the Intestacy rules set out in the Administration of Estates Act (Northern Ireland) 1955.

Your spouse does not automatically receive the entirety of your estate and another person may well benefit from some of your estate, something which you wouldn’t want to be the case.

This is particularly important in relation to cohabitees. Your surviving partner is at risk if you have not left specific instructions in your will. They will be left with nothing. Their only redress is to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. This is complex and expensive.

It is important to review your will regularly and especially after a major life event such as getting married, getting divorced or having children.

Do I need a solicitor to prepare my will?

It is advisable to seek legal advice when making your will. It is a formal legal document that must be prepared and executed in a particular way in order to maintain its legal enforceability. If it is not prepared correctly its validity could be challenged and its contents overturned.

Here are a few of the reasons why the validity of a will may be challenged:

  • Fraud
  • Duress or undue influence
  • Lack of Testamentary capacity
  • Lack of mental capacity
  • Ambiguity
  • Legal formalities not adhered to

What should my will contain?

Typical clauses in a Will are as follows:

  • Revocation of any previous will
  • Funeral wishes
  • Appointment of Executors and Trustees
  • Appointment of Guardians for minors
  • Specific gifts of property or money to beneficiaries
  • Division of the rest of your assets
  • A “catch all” residue clause.

A will may also be a useful tool for Tax Planning. The impact of Inheritance Tax on the beneficiaries named in the will is often considered in conjunction with making the will and if your estate is one which will be affected by the Inheritance Tax provisions, it is advisable to obtain specialist financial and tax planning advice.

Our wills service is quick and refreshingly uncomplicated. If you would like more information please contact us on 028 90 329801 or email marie-anne.mcveigh@mtb-law.co.uk