At Friends Legal, we’re By Your Side to offer advice and support during the toughest of times. Through life, you love and provide for your family and friends. We make sure that you continue to do so after your death by crafting Wills and setting up Trusts to protect your loved ones when you’re no longer around.
We know that death isn’t an easy topic to think about or discuss. But planning what to do with your possessions after you die not only ensures everyone is provided for, but it gives your loved ones one less thing to worry about after you’re gone.
Our team support you in deciding what is most important to you and don’t make a difficult time any more confusing or expensive than it should be. We offer transparent and fair pricing with no hidden fees. Our accessible, friendly team of experts are passionate about working alongside you through every stage of an emotional process, by your side.
Dying without a Will
Dying without a Will is called dying intestate. The law does step in, in that situation, but your loved ones have to go through a time-consuming and often costly process to ensure your estate is dealt with under the law of succession. This means that the law, not you, decides who is responsible for administering your estate and who inherits it. Dying without a will means that your assets may not go to those closest to you.
For instance, if you aren’t married to your partner or have stepchildren who are not formally adopted, they may be excluded from inheriting anything. The easiest way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is to make a Will specifying who gets what.
A Will for every age and stage
At Friends Legal, we aim to make sure your Will is up-to-date, reflects your current family situation, and covers all your assets. Typically a change of circumstance does not require a full Will rewrite, with more informal ways of keeping your wishes current. Our Will reviews mean that we can assess the best way of reflecting changes in your circumstances in your Will.
Some of the most common stages that a Will or update should be considered are:
Wills for young adults
When you fly the nest and take the next steps in life, making a Will is not the first thing you think about. Although your assets might be limited, you should never overlook the emotional and potential financial value found in your online assets. Online banking, shopping, file and photo storage present issues of access and preservation on your death. You may have views on whether your social media accounts should be deleted, or indeed whether they have a financial value. A Will can cover both the access and disposal of these virtual assets following your wishes. Depending on where the sites you use are hosted, there could be complexities surrounding different countries’ laws, which is best to resolve in advance. We cover all your assets – whether virtual or IRL – and make sure they are included in your Will.
Wills When buying a house or acquisition of other assets
You should update your Will if you acquire any significant asset – a house being the most common one. Whether by purchase or inheritance, what to do with a house should be covered in your Will. If the house becomes your family home, for instance, but is only in your name, there could be issues with passing this to your partner if you are not married. By making a Will, you can ensure that your partner can remain in the home after you die.
A Will to protect your family
When you get into a relationship, whether you choose to marry, live together or enter into a civil partnership, you may want to leave some of your assets to your significant other. If you’re married or in a civil partnership, your partner will be entitled to some of your property when you die regardless of whether there is a Will. If you’re not, then you risk your partner being disinherited. Either way, there may be specific items that you wish passed to them. The only way to ensure that this happens is to make a Will. If you already have a Will which doesn’t mention your partner, then marriage or a civil partnership doesn’t invalidate it, and so treasured possessions may not go to whom you’d like.
Wills when having Children
If you have children or any dependents, you need to consider how to provide for them as they grow. If they’re young, you will need to appoint guardians for them, and you may have to consider setting up a trust fund. A trust fund can be structured to ensure that they’re provided for while they’re growing up, and have access to their inheritance once they are financially independent.
Wills after a divorce or separation.
In Scotland, the law recently changed concerning Wills after divorce. Previously, a Will that appointed your former spouse as your Executor or left assets to them would still be valid after the divorce. Now, any provisions for your former spouse in your Will are automatically cancelled upon divorce, unless your Will expressly states otherwise.
The above rules don’t apply to your former spouse’s appointment as a Guardian to your children in your Will. It also does not apply for those who are separated, but not yet divorced. It’s therefore very important that you reconsider your Will upon a separation.
Reassessing your Will following a separation or divorce is always advisable, whatever your circumstances are.
A Will to include stepchildren
Although stepchildren may be a huge part of your life, they won’t automatically be entitled to inherit as they aren’t blood relatives. This also applies to foster children and other dependents. If you want to provide for them after you’re gone, you must write a Will.
What type of Will is right for me?
Despite what you see online, there is no one size fits all for Wills. Your circumstances dictate what type of Will best protects you and your family. We can advise on the Will that best suits you and what to include to ensure your Will is tailor-made for you. Our Will packages are flexible and fall into two categories:
As its name suggests, our First Will product is ideal for those at the beginning of their life journey. Those who have just left home, bought property or want to provide for a partner. Our First Wills package can be adapted to cover both single and joint – or mirror – Wills.
Single Wills are standalone documents, but can be used whether you’re single or with a partner.
Joint or mirror Wills are separate documents but are identical save for your names and possibly your funeral arrangements. These are mostly used when you’re in a relationship, and you and your partner chose to leave your estate to each other, and then – when the surviving partner dies – to your dependents or agreed charity.
Our First Wills package
Our First Wills package is straightforward and allows you to appoint who you want to deal with your estate. Known as Executors, if these aren’t identified in the document, a Court must appoint them – a time-consuming and often costly process. We also offer advice on whether to appoint a separate social media Executor to deal exclusively with your virtual assets. Our First Wills package allows you to:
- Decide how to divide your possessions, and name individuals who you wish to inherit.
- Identify people or charities to whom you wish to leave a specific gift.
- Identify guardians for your children or dependents.
- Appoint trustees for any trust you wish to set up for your dependents.
- Our plan includes a three-yearly Will review.
Estate Planning Wills
If your life is more complex, either through your relationship set up or through the nature and value of your assets, you may wish to take advantage of our estate planning Will. As well as including all the steps in our First Will plan, it will look at estate planning aspects such as establishing trusts and Inheritance Tax planning.
Our plan includes a three-yearly Will review.
Three Yearly Will Review
Once you have completed a Will with us, you will be sent a questionnaire every three years to ascertain whether there have been any significant changes in your life that would necessitate a Will update. We can provide you with advice on your options at that stage. A complete Will rewrite is often not required. We can use a codicil or update your letters of wishes to ensure your intentions are carried out.
Should I include a Power of Attorney?
With both our plans, we offer a Power of Attorney add-on, or you can have a Power of Attorney drafted separately if you already have a Will in place. We would recommend that you have both. Your Executor is responsible for administering your estate after death. Your Attorney would be responsible for assisting you in making decisions during your lifetime if you are no longer able to deal with your affairs.
|Standard Single Will
|Standard Mirror Will
|Complex Single Will
|Complex Mirror Will
|POA & Standard Will
|POA & Standard Will for couples
|POA & Complex Will
|POA & Complex Will for couples
What Makes a Will Standard or Complex?
Standard Wills are by no means worse than their more complex counterparts. Simply put, the complexity of your Will is determined by your family dynamic and the rough value of your estate. Standard Wills are suitable for unblended families, those with assets in Scotland, those who don’t need IHT advice or Trusts, and those who require less than 6 legacies. If not, a Complex Will is perhaps a better option. We’ll advise on what is best for you, with no no-obligation for you to continue with us.
Contact Us To Start Your Will
For more information about creating a Will, please contact our team. We will listen to your circumstances and craft a Will to match your needs exactly. We provide a wide variety of ways to contact the team, and our opening hours span more than the usual 9-5 – so you can get in touch at a time and in a way that suits you.