Will Writing
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Explained

What Is A Will?

A Will provides certainty. It ensures that your assets pass to the people you choose and that the right people (executors and trustees) manage this when you have gone. It allows you to appoint guardians for minor children, make gifts to charity, and to protect assets through the use of Will trusts.
The Process

Making A Will

Here at Fortis Law, we want to make the process of putting important documents in place as easy as possible. We recognise that many of our clients have busy lives so can visit you in the comfort of your own home and at a time that suits you. Our staff are all legally trained, will go over the legalities of making a Will, take instructions and answer all of your questions. We will also return to you to ensure all legal documents are signed correctly.
Why You Need A Will

Who Should Have A Will?

In England and Wales you have to be over the age of 18 to make a Will. The only exception to this rule is to members of the armed forces who can make a 'privileged Will' where the normal formalities governed by the Wills Act 1837 do not apply. We would advise that everyone over the age of 18 considers having a Will made. Specifically, if you have children or grandchildren, support a charity, own property, or wish to protect assets for future generations, speaking to a member of our team is of even greater importance.
DIY?

Should I Write My Own Will?

Problems arising from mistakes in your Will are only found after your death when it is likely to be too late to correct them. Although it is possible to write your own Will, professional advise should always be sought in an area so complex and important. All of our work is covered by professional indemnity insurance.
Consequences

What Happens If I Die Without A Will?

If you die without a Will you would die ‘intestate’. This would mean that your estate would pass in accordance with the rules of intestacy as stated at that time. This does not guarantee that your assets will pass to the people you would otherwise have chosen. Indeed some people are excluded from benefiting directly such as step children and unmarried partners. Guardians for minor children will not be dealt with, and assets will not be protected. In essence you are not in control of the decision making process but the State is. 
Mirror Wills

What Are Mirror Wills?

Mirror Wills are two individual Wills normally made by couples. The Wills are similar and would normally reflect the other although each Will can be slightly different. 
Need-To-Know

Some Need-To-Know Information

Wills, in some form or another, have been in existence for centuries and enable you to distribute what you own when you die.


Here are some simple facts to dispel some myths;

A marriage or civil partnership revokes a Will although you can make a Will in contemplation of either. 

Divorce or annulment doesn't revoke a Will but treats the former spouse or civil partner as having died before you.

Your Will can include information about your funeral wishes but is unlikely to be read until after your funeral. 

Inform your executors if you have taken out a pre-paid funeral plan to ensure that they don’t look at your Will (finding details) after your funeral has taken place – meaning you paid twice.
Validation

What Makes A Will Valid?

A Will is normally made valid by the signing and witnessing process known as the 'attestation'. Our advisers will explain everything you need to know but it needs to be signed in accordance with s.9 of the Wills Act 1837.
Storage

Where Should I Store My Will?

There are no formal rules about where you should store your Will, but it should be kept somewhere your executors will be able to find it. It also needs to be securely stored so that it is protected and provided only to those entitled to see it. There are professional storage providers for Wills, like ours and we register the location of the Wills we store with Certainty The National Will Register.
Making Changes

How Do I Update My Will?

It is vitally important that you review and revise your Will as your circumstances or those of your loved ones change. 

Any future Wills will contain a clause which revokes any previous Wills. 

We will review your existing Will without obligation always providing you with best advice.
Misconceptions

Some Misconceptions About Wills

Don’t assume that because you’ve been with your partner for years that they will inherit everything when you die. Only a Will can offer this assurance.

A witness cannot benefit from the Will they have signed. Any gifts to them will be void/invalid.

The History Of Wills

Will Writing and the concepts of trusts dates back as far as William the Conqueror. The concepts of tax and death duties date back hundreds of years as well with the famous 1796 tax on estates introduced to help fund the war against Napoleon. We now know this tax as Inheritance Tax.
HARRY HOUDINI
ROBERT LOUIS STEPHENSON
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
DUSTY SPRINGFIELD
It is said that there are two certainties in life; death and tax and you would need to be magic to be able to cheat death. Even the great Harry Houdini couldn’t escape death and following his death in 1926 he left instructions to his wife in his Will to hold a séance every year on the anniversary of his death. His wife followed the terms of his Will and even offered £10,000 to anyone who could help her contact her husband.
The much-loved author of Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stephenson, died aged 44 while at home with his wife. According to stories he struggled and strained opening a bottle of wine, asked his wife ‘whether his face looked strange’ before collapsing and later passing away. During his lifetime a friend often complained that she hated her birthday (Christmas Day) so in his Will, he left her his own birthday (November 13).
William Shakespeare’s Will is a famous one and much talked about following his death in 1616. Throughout his career as a successful playwright he owned a number of properties and was one of the owners at the famous Globe Theatre. Imagine his wife’s surprise when the only legacy he left her in his Will was his second-best bed. All of this after 34 years of marriage.
A Will is such an important document as it allows you to make provision for all those you care about. Dusty Springfield is a perfect example of this. She made provision for her cat Nicholas in her will ensuring that he would be kept in the lifestyle that he had become accustomed to during her liftetime. This is far from unusual and many people leave to charities using practices like the RSPCA ‘home for life’ scheme.

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