Why do I need a Will?
Protect your estate – If you don’t have a Will, the law decides who gets your hard earned assets. You may also miss out on clever planning that can help protect your estate and ensure your loved ones get as much inheritance as possible.
Protect children and vulnerable others – appoint a guardian, ensure your child from a previous relationship or marriage is protected, look after a disabled child or simply delay the age of inheritance to an age when you feel your child or grandchild is responsible enough to cope with a large sum of money. We can assist in ensuring your nearest and dearest are looked after.
Protect your hard earned assets from care fees – One of the most vital reasons for arranging a Will is to ensure that what you have worked hard for all of your life is not taken from you when it can be avoided. Whether you want to avoid probate fees, prevent unnecessary local authority means testing, ensure certain individuals don’t benefit from your assets or simply want reassurance that you’ll avoid paying excessive Inheritance Tax, we can assist in advising you on the right will to meet your personal requirements.
Protect your spouse, partner or civil partner – we understand that your partner or spouse may be your primary concern when you are no longer here, but be cautious of falling into the trap of simply leaving everything to each other. By doing so, you fail to protect and preserve your estate for your children or other loved ones and your estate could end up susceptible to government means testing. Four Seasons are experts in Will writing; there are methods available to help ensure your spouse or partner is protected for life, ensuring those hard earned assets are reserved for the people you hold dear rather than the tax man!
I’m only young; surely I don’t need a Will yet?
Sadly, no one knows what’s around the corner. It takes a small amount of time and effort to make a Will, and it often lets your loved ones avoid a lot of expense and heartache later on. If you choose not to make a Will, the fate of your assets is out of your hands. An unmarried partner, for example, may not inherit anything, which may come as a shock and cause financial hardship. Don’t leave your loved ones in a vulnerable position- make the effort to prepare your Will today and receive the peace of mind that those closest to you will be well looked after.
Don’t my assets pass automatically to my partner or spouse?
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Unmarried partners without a Will may not be recognised as a beneficiary, regardless of the length of the relationship. Unless you enter into a marriage or civil partnership, when you die your surviving partner will not automatically receive any of the assets held in your name.
Even if you are married or in a civil partnership, your spouse or civil partner is by no means guaranteed to receive the whole of your estate! Indeed, you may find that your children, including children form previous relationships, as well as other family members are entitled to a share of your estate immediately upon your death, which could have a devastating financial effect on your spouse! In some cases, the family home has to be sold to distribute the estate according to the ruling; around 200,000 are sold every year. Ensure that your estate passes to those you decide, safe in the knowledge that everything will be dealt with simply and amicably when you’re gone in accordance with your Will.
What about my local solicitor?
Many high street solicitors do not specialise in any particular area, and instead offer many different areas of law. This means that Wills are often fitted in around the other demanding areas that their practice deals with.
At Four Seasons, we specialise in Wills, Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney. This means that your Will and any related documents is our priority; you will receive a professional, efficient service, confident that we’re focused on making the right Will for you. We are legal experts; our founder was one of only 12 specialists to be selected by the Legal Services Board for their panel of experts, who have reviewed Wills made by banks, solicitors and other large companies to determine the level of service provided to consumers. Four Seasons offers a specialised service; for a document as important as your Will, you and your family deserve the best.
What if I don’t have the time to make a will?
Modern life is often hectic, and we understand that making a Will is usually not at the top of everyone’s list of priorities. We offer various options to fit your lifestyle- we can take instructions by post, sending you a questionnaire that you can complete at your leisure. Alternatively, we can arrange a simple telephone call at a time to suit you, even at evenings or weekends. Making a Will with us is straightforward and simple; with a wide range of options to suit any schedule, there really is no reason to put it off any longer.
How much do your services cost? How do I pay?
The price of our services depends on the package you choose, as well as any extras you add to your Will, such as Trusts and LPAs. However, we aim to provide a Will package to suit any budget. Speak to one of our consultants or arrange a free home visit for more information on the cost of our services. Our services can be paid for by cheque, credit/debit card or cash.
Who is allowed to make a Will?
Any person aged over 18 years of age can make a Will. However, members of the Armed Forces who are on active duty are able to make a Will once they turn 17 years of age.
There is no upper age limit for making a Will; however, you must have testamentary capacity, and be of sound mind. This means that you are aware of the fact that you are making a Will, and the effect that this may have on those who are dependent on you. You must also be aware of the extent of your estate. This, of course, means that those with degenerative conditions such as dementia may not be able to legally make a Will. This is why it is important to act sooner rather than later.
I have difficulties reading or signing things. Can I still make a Will?
Absolutely; there are other options available to you if you have difficulties reading or signing documents. All documentation can be read to you, and provisions are available to produce documents in braille.
Furthermore, those who have trouble signing documents can confirm their consent in other ways, including signing with a mark or having another person sign on their behalf. Feel free to contact one of our consultants, who can explain the full range of options available to you.
I have foreign property; can I still make a Will?
English wills drafted by Four Seasons only cover assets that you own in England and/or Wales. We can also assist with the preparation of Spanish Wills to cover assets held in Spain; if this applies to your circumstances, please contact us for more information.
In regards to foreign property held anywhere else in the world, we’d recommend that you have a Will prepared under the local law of that country; there may be complex legislation affecting inheritance that differs from our own. It is also usually more cost effective to have a Will made in that country, meaning you will avoid additional problems and expenses later on.
Can I make changes to my Will? What if I have more children?
Of course, we can cater for any alterations both before you have signed your Will and afterwards. If you wish to make any changes, just contact us.
We assess your circumstances when preparing your Will to avoid you having to pay to make amendments in the future; for example, if you plan to have more children, we can draft your Will in such a way as to accommodate any children you may have in the future. In addition, if you choose our annual storage option, you get up to three alterations per year free of charge; just contact us for more information.
Who can witness my Will?
We always recommend that an independent person be present as a witness when you sign your Will; that is, someone who is not a family member or another beneficiary of your will. This is to ensure your witnesses are impartial, but ultimately the choice of witnesses is up to you. We can provide full guidance on the witnessing procedure if required.
What a beneficiary dies before me?
Sadly, this occurs quite often; many people include elderly relatives as beneficiaries in their Will and end up outliving them. We would be happy to review your Will to determine if any alterations need to be made should this happen. If Four Seasons prepared your original Will, it may not be necessary to make an alteration. If it does require an alteration, or you would rather your Will be updated to reflect the changes in circumstance, we will gladly prepare your new Will. If you have annual storage, there would be no charge for the alteration.
What are executors and who should they be?
Your executors are the people you name within your Will to be responsible for administering your estate, in accordance with the terms of your Will. The role carries a lot of responsibility and can be an extremely time consuming position, especially at a time where your loved ones are experiencing the emotional stress of bereavement. You may feel it is not viable for loved ones to cope with the stress, worry or hassle of the difficult position; if this is the case, Four Seasons provide a professional executor service. One of our consultants can explain this in more detail if required.