Wills & Probate
Wills & Probate Specialists
When it comes to making plans for your future, one of the most important things you can do is make a will. A will allows you to control what happens to your property and possessions after you die. It can also help to make things easier for your loved ones at a difficult time.
If you die without a will, your estate will be divided up according to the law of intestacy. This may not be how you would have wanted it to be divided, and it could cause problems for your loved ones.
Making a will is particularly important if you have young children, as it allows you to appoint guardians to care for them if something happens to you.
The process of sorting out someone’s estate after they die is called probate. If the person who has died left a will, the executor named in the will is responsible for sorting out their estate. If there is no will, the next of kin is responsible.
The first step in the probate process is to apply for a grant of probate from the court. This gives you the legal authority to deal with someone’s estate.
Once you have been granted probate, you can start to wind up the deceased person’s affairs. This involves collecting all their assets, paying any debts and taxes, and distributing what’s left according to the terms of the will (if there is one).
The whole process can be complex and time-consuming, so it’s often a good idea to get professional help from a solicitor.
Solicitors can also help you with other aspects of estate planning, such as setting up trusts or making sure your will is valid.
If you’re thinking about making a will, or if you need help with probate, it’s important to get specialist legal advice. This is because the law surrounding wills and probate can be complex.
At Lawyerly, we can put you in touch with experienced solicitors who can provide the guidance you need. Simply tell us your requirements and we’ll match you with the right solicitor for your needs.
Are two identical or nearly identical Wills, usually made by a married couple or civil partners. They are also sometimes known as ‘joint wills’ or ‘couples wills’.
Making mirror Wills is a way of ensuring that, if one partner dies, the other will inherit everything in accordance with their wishes. This can be particularly important if you have young children, to make sure they are provided for financially.
If you and your partner die at the same time, for example in a car accident, it can be difficult to know who died first. This is known as the ‘commorientes’ rule. If this happens, your Wills may not be valid.
To avoid this, you can make what’s called a ‘joint and several’ Will. This means that each of you leaves everything to the other, but if one of you dies before the other, your share will go to your children or other relatives instead.
Making a Will is an important way to make sure that your wishes are carried out after you die. Solicitors can help you write a Will, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with one today.
If you die without making a Will, your estate will be distributed according to the intestacy rules. These rules may not take into account your wishes regarding who should inherit your estate.
For example, if you are not married or in a civil partnership and you die intestate (without a Will), your partner will not automatically inherit anything from you.
Making mirror Wills can be a straightforward way of ensuring that your wishes regarding inheritance are carried out. However, there are some potential disadvantages to consider before making mirror Wills, which are discussed below.
What are the advantages of making mirror Wills?
The main advantage of making mirror Wills is that they can provide certainty and peace of mind about what will happen to your estate if one partner dies. This can be particularly important if you have young children, as you can be sure that they will be provided for financially.
Another advantage of making mirror Wills is that they can simplify the process of administering your estate after your death. This is because, if both partners die at the same time (for example, in a car accident), it will be clear who should inherit the estate. This can make things easier for your executors and helps to avoid any potential disputes between family members.
What are the disadvantages of making mirror Wills?
One potential disadvantage of making mirror Wills is that they can tie you and your partner together financially. This means that, if one of you wants to change your Will at a later date, you will need to get agreement from the other person.
Another potential disadvantage is that, if your circumstances change (for example, if you get divorced or your relationship breaks down), your Wills will remain the same unless you change them. This could mean that your ex-partner inherits part of your estate, which may not be what you wanted.
It is also worth noting that, if one partner dies and the other inherits everything in accordance with the terms of the Will, this could potentially create problems for any children from a previous relationship. For example, if one partner has children from a previous marriage, they may feel left out if their step-parent’s Will leaves everything to their biological parent.
Making mirror Wills can be a good way of providing certainty and peace of mind about what will happen to your estate if one partner dies. However, there are some potential disadvantages to consider before making mirror Wills. You should speak to a solicitor for advice on the best way to structure your Wills and to avoid any potential pitfalls.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
As your life changes, so do your needs. You may need someone to look after your affairs on a long-term basis if you become incapacitated, or simply want to plan ahead for potential future needs. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more trusted individuals (known as “attorneys”) to help you make decisions or act on your behalf.
There are two types of LPAs: one for property and financial affairs, and one for health and welfare. You can choose to have one or both types of LPA in place.
A property and financial affairs LPA allows your attorney(s) to help you with tasks such as managing your bank accounts, paying your bills, and selling your home.
A health and welfare LPA gives your attorney(s) the authority to make decisions about your medical care and treatment, including decisions about life-sustaining treatment.
You can set out specific instructions and preferences in your LPA, and you can appoint more than one attorney. You can also specify that your attorneys must act together on all decisions, or that they can act independently.
It’s important to note that an LPA only comes into effect if you lose mental capacity (the ability to make your own decisions). If you have concerns about losing mental capacity in the future, you can make what’s known as a “pre-emptive” LPA. This gives your attorneys the authority to step in and make decisions on your behalf even if you haven’t yet lost mental capacity.
Making an LPA is a complex process, so it’s important to seek legal advice before proceeding. Solicitors with experience in wills and probate can help you understand the process and ensure that your LPA is valid and binding.
Once you’ve made your LPA, it’s important to keep it in a safe place and give copies to your attorneys. You should also tell your family and close friends about your LPA, so they know who to contact if they need to get in touch with your attorney(s).