Why should I write a Will?

Around 60% of people in the UK have not made a Will, they simply do not want to think about it. It is extremely important to make sure you and your family have a Will, should the worst happen.

Your Will tells everyone what you would want to happen to your possessions, money and property when you pass away. Collectively these are known as your ‘estate’. If you pass away without a Will, the law decides what happens to your estate, and this may not be what you would have wanted.

It is easy to make a Will, and it will save your relatives unnecessary distress at an already difficult time. A Will makes it much easier for your family or friends to sort everything out in line with your wishes. Without a Will, your friends and family may not end up inheriting certain aspects of your estate, plus having a Will can reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax your family will have to pay on your estate.

Writing a Will is especially important if you have children or financially dependent family, or if you want to leave something to friends or extended family.

Our dedicated solicitors, can advise you on the best course of action when writing your Will, and help by ensuring your Will is completely valid.

Your Will is important for letting your loved ones know your wishes:

  • Who should have your property, money and possessions?
  • Who will be in charge of organising your estate and following the instructions you leave in your Will.
  • Instructions for other wishes, such as whether you would like to be buried or cremated.

For a Will to be valid it must:

  • Show how your estate should be divided when you die.
  • Be signed and dated by you and two witnesses.
  • Be made when you are able to make your own decisions.

More complicated situations mean more time and thought needs to be taken when writing your Will, whereas if you want to leave everything to your immediate family, the process if relatively quick and easy.

Practicalities of Writing a Will

You must appoint Executors to deal with your estate in the event of your death and property must be held in trust e.g. while a beneficiary is a minor.

You can provide for specific funeral arrangements, which is particularly important for some clients. Some people ask for their body to be donated to medical research, especially those who have suffered from prolonged illnesses and want to help reduce other people’s suffering by helping to find new treatments in this way.

You can safeguard your children’s interests if they are a minor (under 18 years old) by appointing legal guardians to care for them if both parents have died e.g. in a car accident.

Personal items such as jewellery, paintings and heirlooms can be passed on in the Will and by reference to an informal letter of wishes.

If you want to, you can help charities by leaving a legacy or share of your estate to them, free of Inheritance Tax. Charities receive approximately £1.65bn per year from money left in Wills and it is an important source of funding for them.

Changes to the Inheritance Tax rules

Prior to October 2007, if the first spouse left their entire estate to the surviving spouse, this would pass free of Inheritance Tax thanks to the spousal exemption rules. However, this means that the first spouse’s Nil Rate Band (NRB) allowance was unused and therefore lost.

The Transferable NRB - In 2007, the chancellor announced a new regime. This allowed the use of two NRBs without requiring any formal tax planning in the Wills.

The new regime does not simply double the Nil Rate Band; it allows unused NRB to be transferred between spouses. To do this, the executors of the survivor’s estate must make a claim for the percentage of the unused allowance to be brought forward and applied to the estate of the surviving spouse.

Reducing the tax burden

Trusts may have long term tax advantages in cases where capital depreciation is anticipated to outstrip future increases of the nil rate band.

Wills can offer flexible solutions to complex problems

Family Arrangements - A Will can be a really helpful tool in solving some complex family issues e.g. to include children from previous marriages.

A Will can ensure that a second (current) spouse has the right to occupy the family home, while still protecting the capital for children of an earlier marriage. This will ensure that the assets don’t pass outside the immediate family and also may help prevent any potential challenges in the distribution of the estate.

Asset Protection - One of the implications of an ageing population is that thousands of homes are sold each year to fund the cost of residential care.

A carefully drafted Will can ensure that a share of the family home passes into a trust on first death, which may give the survivor a right to occupy.

The Trust will make sure that the capital will be preserved from nursing home fees and will pass to the intended beneficiaries instead. This kind of Trust can be drafted flexibly to allow the survivor to downsize or move property.

Trusts can protect assets for future generations- if your child or grandchild suffers financial or matrimonial problems, or if beneficiaries are not mature or responsible enough to own large amounts of money, a Trust can come in handy. The Trustees will take each beneficiary’s personal circumstances into account.

Businesses

Your Will can ensure that business interests you have e.g. shares in a family business, or a farm are directed to those intended such as sons or daughters who have come into the business.

An important Inheritance Tax relief may apply to these business interests and providing discounts of either 50% or 100% (complete exemption).

When it comes to your house or other non-business assets, you can give them away without having to pay an IHT charge if they are ‘potentially exempt transfers’ (PETs). The vital point regarding PETs is that they have to be given away seven years before your death.

In terms of business assets, it is usually only necessary for the person to have owned these assets for two years, rather than the required seven years for the non-business assets.

So don’t risk paying a substantial tax bill when this can be reduced by carefully drafting you Will.

Other considerations

Many people own their house as “joint tenants”. This is one of two ways in which you can own your house. You could also own it as “tenants in common”. To own your home or other assets as “joint tenants” can be an inflexible method because the surviving co-owner automatically takes everything.

Therefore, a co-owner cannot, during lifetime or by Will, give these assets to any other beneficiaries, for example to his children to utilise the nil rate band.

The solution is to hold as “tenants in common” and if the holding is already as joint tenants, it can be changed by a rather simple process.

Remember that in a two year period following the death, the terms of a Will can be varied or disclaimed by an appropriate document entered into by the persons involved. However, this may be prevented by changes in the law.

Making a Will doesn’t need to be expensive. Most solicitors charge a reasonable fee for a straightforward Will. Where the Will achieves valuable tax savings, this will normally be reflected in the fee but the savings may be vast.

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Always Impressed

I am always impressed. Thank you to Maddalena and the staff at the Gleadless branch for their help.

Miss Cassy

2019-05-16T10:23:21+01:00

Miss Cassy

I am always impressed. Thank you to Maddalena and the staff at the Gleadless branch for their help.

So Good

The service was SO GOOD, I don't see how it could be bettered.

Mr Booler

2018-11-12T14:23:52+01:00

Mr Booler

The service was SO GOOD.

A Country Mile

I was particularly impressed with the greeting and welcome I received on my very first visit. I had called into three solicitors on Regent Street that day and yours was a 'country mile' better welcome than any of the others. Friendly, smiling, welcoming, down to earth and kind reception staff. This was the reason I chose your firm.

Ms Hooley

2018-11-12T14:08:56+01:00

Ms Hooley

Friendly, smiling, welcoming, down to earth and kind reception staff.

A polite and caring service all the way through, from receptionist to solicitor


Mr & Mrs Williams

2019-06-25T12:04:04+01:00

Mr & Mrs Williams

Kind and Understanding


Mrs Senior

2019-07-04T11:33:06+01:00

Mrs Senior

Clear, Professional, Friendly Service

Everything was explained clearly, and service was friendly and professional.

Mr & Mrs Spencer

2019-05-16T11:07:39+01:00

Mr & Mrs Spencer

Everything was explained clearly, and service was friendly and professional. 

Clear & Understandable Explanation

Good advice and service! Everything was explained clearly and understandably

Mr & Mrs Ellis

2019-05-28T12:04:57+01:00

Mr & Mrs Ellis

Good advice and service! Everything was explained clearly and understandably

Clear, Friendly, Efficient Advise

Advise received was clear and friendly! Everything was dealt with efficiently and within our best interests

Mrs Dyett & Mr Howard

2019-05-16T11:50:50+01:00

Mrs Dyett & Mr Howard

Advise received was clear and friendly! Everything was dealt with efficiently and within our best interests 

Compassionate

Many thanks for your compassion in dealing with our case

Mr Stubbs

2019-05-16T12:16:26+01:00

Mr Stubbs

Many thanks for your compassion in dealing with our case

Would be Happy to Recommend

Efficient and friendly service. Explanations were given in an easy to follow and understanding manner. We were very happy with the service, and would be happy to recommend and use again!

Mrs Riley

2019-05-16T12:07:44+01:00

Mrs Riley

Efficient and friendly service. Explanations were given in an easy to follow and understanding manner. We were very happy with the service, and would be happy to recommend and use again!

Excellent and very informative

Yvonne Copley was excellent, very informative and pleasant to deal with. I don't think you can improve on excellence.

Mrs Gill

2019-01-22T12:30:09+01:00

Mrs Gill

Excellent, very informative and pleasant to deal with.

Very friendly, but still professional


Ms Walker & Mr Birchall

2019-05-24T12:01:59+01:00

Ms Walker & Mr Birchall

Professional

Everything was dealt with in a very professional way

Mr & Mrs Lindley

2019-08-14T10:10:08+01:00

Mr & Mrs Lindley

Everything was dealt with in a very professional way

First Class as Always

First class as always. Service is always friendly, polite, professional along with good advise. Very satisfied with everything!

Mr & Mrs Swift

2019-05-16T12:12:14+01:00

Mr & Mrs Swift

First class as always. Service is always friendly, polite, professional along with good advise. Very satisfied with everything!

Friendly, Courteous and Understanding


Ms Thwaite

2019-07-15T11:14:56+01:00

Ms Thwaite

Efficient and clear

Very efficient and clear.

Mr Ward

2019-01-22T12:35:59+01:00

Mr Ward

Very efficient and clear.

Patience and Understanding

Yvonne's patience and understanding was very much appreciated.

Mr Morris

2018-11-12T14:29:43+01:00

Mr Morris

Patience and understanding was very much appreciated.

I was Listened to Carefully

I was listened to carefully and my requests were adhered to professionally, thank you.

Mrs Booth

2019-05-16T10:31:28+01:00

Mrs Booth

I was listened to carefully and my requests were adhered to professionally, thank you. 

Friendly Staff

Impressed with the friendliness of the staff

Ms Mason

2019-06-25T11:56:35+01:00

Ms Mason

Impressed with the friendliness of the staff

Excellent Service Throughout


Mr Beetenson

2019-05-16T10:28:49+01:00

Mr Beetenson

Excellent service throughout

Friendly and Professional

The whole process was dealt with in a friendly and professional manner. In my experience the service was first cl;ass and not needing any improvement.

Mr Slater

2019-05-16T10:17:56+01:00

Mr Slater

The whole process was dealt with in a friendly and professional manner. In my experience the service was first cl;ass and not needing any improvement. 

Friendly, Professional & Really Listened

The service received was both friendly and professional, and I was really listened to. Thank you for such a helpful and friendly service; I was pleasantly surprised with the low cost too.

Mrs Davies

2019-05-29T09:59:28+01:00

Mrs Davies

The service received was both friendly and professional, and I was really listened to. Thank you for such a helpful and friendly service; I was pleasantly surprised with the low cost too.

Kind and helpful

I was apprehensive about discussing my Will, but I was soon put at ease by Maddalena. I reviewed my Will recently, and again she was so kind and helpful.

Mrs Woolley

2019-01-22T12:42:46+01:00

Mrs Woolley

Maddalena was so kind and helpful.

Excellent Service

Thank you for helping me recently. Excellent service from opening the door right up to drafting and filing. I've been in many law firms all over and never had this level of customer service. All the best.

Mr Johnson

2018-11-12T15:02:18+01:00

Mr Johnson

Excellent service from opening the door right up to drafting and filing.

Polite and respectful

Thank you for being polite to us. You were very respectful. There is nothing I could add to the excellent service.

Mr Rains

2019-01-22T12:39:31+01:00

Mr Rains

There is nothing I could add to the excellent service.

Friendly & Approachable

I was nervous about the Will making process but I need not have been, as staff were so friendly and approachable, I was put completely at ease

Mrs Misiukanis

2019-05-29T09:55:21+01:00

Mrs Misiukanis

I was nervous about the Will making process but I need not have been, as staff were so friendly and approachable, I was put completely at ease

Approachable and Knowledgeable

Very satisfied with the outcome of the work, Anthony was very approachable and knowledgeable, and provided very good down to earth advice

Mrs Brook

2019-07-03T09:56:07+01:00

Mrs Brook

Very satisfied with the outcome of the work, Anthony was very approachable and knowledgeable, and provided very good down to earth advice

Excellent service throughout, friendly and professional


Miss Arblaster

2019-07-18T09:10:38+01:00

Miss Arblaster

Very patient

Maddalena Proctor came to see me and helped me a great deal as I had no idea about Wills. She explained all the details and was very patient with me.

Mrs Greaves

2018-11-12T12:57:58+01:00

Mrs Greaves

Maddalena Proctor explained all the details about Wills and was very patient with me.

Wonderful, Chatty and Helpful Staff


Mr & Mrs Jones

2019-07-03T09:12:08+01:00

Mr & Mrs Jones

Impressive All-Round Service


Mr & Mrs Wragg

2019-05-17T10:01:35+01:00

Mr & Mrs Wragg

Impressive All-Round Service

Excellent customer service, would recommend without hesitation


Mr Gower

2019-07-16T12:02:49+01:00

Mr Gower

Friendly, Efficient & Clear


Mrs Dunne

2019-05-29T09:41:16+01:00

Mrs Dunne

Pleasant and Professional Staff

Impressed with the pleasant attitude of staff and Maddalena's professionalism!

Mrs Ledger

2019-06-03T11:06:26+01:00

Mrs Ledger

Impressed with the pleasant attitude of staff and Maddalena's professionalism!

Everything went smoothly

Impressed with the smoothness of the whole process

Mr & Mrs Horsfield

2019-05-16T10:13:11+01:00

Mr & Mrs Horsfield

Impressed with the smoothness of the whole process

Working with a smile

You made me feel comfortable and I was impressed you were working with a smile.

Mrs Little

2019-01-22T12:31:58+01:00

Mrs Little

I was impressed you were working with a smile.

Friendly, Competent and Totally Professional

Will writing service was friendly, very competent and totally professional

Mr & Mrs Greensides

2019-05-16T11:32:08+01:00

Mr & Mrs Greensides

Will writing service was friendly, very competent and totally professional

Approachable, Friendly & Professional

I am very please with the service I received from you, just as I have in the past. You have approachable, friendly and professional staff from reception through to senior staff.

Mrs Lovatt

2019-01-23T14:43:37+01:00

Mrs Lovatt

I am very please with the service I received from you.

Making my Will was made so easy

The making of my Will was made so easy for me - I should have done this long ago.

Mrs Fergus

2018-11-12T14:28:45+01:00

Mrs Fergus

Making my Will was made so easy.

Excellent quality of service

Impressed with the excellent quality of service

Mr Stones

2019-05-16T10:07:53+01:00

Mr Stones

Impressed with the excellent quality of service

Understanding, Helpful & Efficient

Impressed with the very understanding, helpful and efficient staff

Ms Hood

2019-05-16T10:37:14+01:00

Ms Hood

Impressed with the very understanding, helpful and efficient staff

Made a Difficult Task Easy

You made a difficult task easy, thank you gold starts all round!

Ms Cooper

2019-05-16T11:55:00+01:00

Ms Cooper

You made a difficult task easy, thank you gold starts all round!

Incredibly Helpful and Understanding

Received very knowledgeable and excellent service throughout, incredibly helpful and understanding, thank you! Would recommend for sure!

Miss Pearson

2019-05-16T11:36:23+01:00

Miss Pearson

Received very knowledgeable and excellent service throughout, incredibly helpful and understanding, thank you! Would recommend for sure!

Meet the team

Taiba Choudhry - Solicitor - Wills & Probate - Property - Conveyancing - Abbeydale Road - Sheffield
Taiba Choudhry
Solicitor
Maddelana Proctor - Private Client - Gleadless - Sheffield
Maddalena Proctor
Gleadless Office Manager
Antony Exley - Probate Executive
Antony Exley
Probate Executive