If you don’t have a complicated Estate - For example, half a house, modest life savings, a motor vehicle and the usual personnel possessions, for my two penn’orth you can safely write your own Will, it’s not difficult and can be done under five simple headings. Appoint ‘Executors and Trustees’, give any ‘Special Instructions’ for your funeral, wake etc, list any ‘Legacies’, list any ‘Exclusions’ and explain how the ‘Residue of your Estate’ is to be distributed. Which means that you can leave your entire Estate to your wife apart from a token of love for each of your children, grandchildren and anything else you may want to leave for others. Just bear in mind if you leave legacy’s by way of cash amounts in excess of any cash you have at the time of death then assets may have to be sold off to honour them.
You may also want to consider writing a ‘Letter of Wishes’ which is a legally binding document which can be used instead of a Will, or in support of an existing Will, but not to override an existing Will.
I always thought that if you have a simple estate, and are happy for everything to go to your spouse, then it’s simple as everything goes, by default to her / him. There’s also no applicable inheritance tax for your spouse to pay.
I had the opportunity years ago to get a free will written as I was part of a union but didn’t because I forgot / had other things.
It’s not the simple / complicated estate bit that bothers me. It’s the people that come crawling out of the woodwork after. There was a fairly terrible case of an old lady that left everything to the lady that had been caring for her from the local church for the past 20 years (had known her as a member of the congregation since she was born), after she passed the nieces and nephews that had nothing to do with her all appeared to contest the will.
A Letter of Wishes could have explained why an Estate had been left to a non family member and why family members had been excluded from benefiting from the Will. It counters any argument that one or more family members had been either inadvertently left out or forgotten or verbally promised something that was not contained in the Will.
@Serrisan Without a Will only the first £270,000 would automatically go to your wife, anything over and above that gets shared between the wife and children and in some cases the grandchildren too.
Always get them drawn up by a solicitor. It’s worth the few hundred quid.
If you die without a will ie intestate and say just have a wife it still isn’t straightforward.
NEVER I repeat NEVER use an online or do it yourself service.
There are so many things they can go wrong even from something as simple as leaving a paper clip imprint on a will. That would leave it open to challenge that a codicil had also been written but had become lost.
Top tip. Send a copy of the latest will to the probate office so when the grant of probate is applied for they will automatically find the latest will.
If you’re also American or if either parent was American PM me as that’s whole different world of pain.
One of my aunts in Dublin died intestate. It was an absolute nightmare to sort out. Her surviving sister was already elderly at the time so it fell to me and my cousins to deal with. Just getting one of us appointed Administratrix was difficult enough. Along the way we found the deceased had some shares in UK companies and some in USA companies, probating them in different jurisdictions was another year of faff. From beginning to end it took us about five years to wrap up her estate.
Do not do this to your loved ones.
Definitely make out a will.
We used the solicitor who conveyanced our flat. It was a token few quid and all dealt with in one simple meeting.
@Serrisan@Joby@The_Sleeper and anyone else making a Will, don’t forget to leave a token for @Jay for running the website that got you on the right ‘I need to make a Will path’ and while your there some go go juice folding for NT would be very much appreciated