Your Will is probably the most important document you will ever sign – let our team of specialist Will solicitors help you to get it right.
More than 60% of those who die each year do not leave a Will. Failing to make a Will can cause a range of problems, including:
- Your estate may not go to the people you would have wanted
- Your loved ones may not have the financial support they need when you are gone
- The inheritance tax on your estate could be higher due to missing the opportunity to plan effectively
- There can be an increased risk of disputes over the estate between your loved ones
It is therefore essential to make a Will and ensure your estate is properly planned as early as possible.
At Bright & Sons Solicitors, we provide specialist legal advice on all aspects of Wills and estate planning to minimise the tax burden on death. We have local offices in Maldon, Tiptree or Witham, with our Will and estate planning lawyers assisting clients in Essex, Suffolk, Sussex, Ipswich, London and throughout the UK, as well as internationally.
To have an initial discussion about how we can help with your Will and estate planning, please contact your local Bright & Sons Solicitors office or use the enquiry form on the right and we will get back to you promptly.
Our Will solicitors will be happy to talk to you face-to-face, over the phone, via email or through videoconferencing – whatever is most comfortable and convenient for you.
Why choose Bright & Sons Solicitors for your Will?
Feedback from clients tells us that they value our specialist knowledge, plain English advice, responsiveness and ability to consistently complete work on time and at the agreed price. Across the firm, we have a strong focus on providing a high quality legal service that meets and exceeds our clients’ expectations.
Our solicitors have particular expertise in advising High Net Worth individuals, as well as in dealing with complex tax and estate planning issues and specialist issues such as succession planning. We have a strong client base in the agricultural sector, with extensive experience around issues including farm and rural estate planning.
Our team includes members of the prestigious Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), offering independent assurance of the high quality of work and our leading expertise in this area.
We continuously invest in technology, allowing us to work efficiently and cost-effectively, passing those savings on to our clients. Many people are surprised how inexpensive it is to make a Will – we are always happy to discuss our fees in advance.
How our Will solicitors in Essex can help you
Our Will and estate planning lawyers work with chartered tax and chartered financial advisors and can assist you in dealing with the big issues, such as:
- How to provide for children from a previous marriage
- Protection from care home fees
- Inheritance tax planning
- How to appoint guardians for your children
- Who is to look after money for underage beneficiaries, and at what age you wish them to inherit
- How to safeguard a disabled child including setting up a trust
- Succession planning relating to partnerships and companies, whether these are farms or other types of businesses
- Heritage assets
- Overseas assets
- Changing a Will
- Laws of intestacy
Making a Will explained
When should you write a Will?
It is never too early to think about making your Will – and, in fact, it is something the majority of people put off until it is too late.
However, there are some key points in your life when it is particularly important to think about making a Will or updating your Will. These include:
- If you are buying a home
- If you are getting married or divorced
- If you move in with your partner
- If you have children or adult dependants
- If you are making investments or acquiring significant new assets
- If you receive an inheritance or expect to receive one
- If you have substantial savings or other assets that need to be accounted for
- If your financial or personal circumstances change in any other significant way
Making a Will ensures that the entirety of your estate and all of your loved ones are fully considered and accounted for, no matter what the future brings.
What should you include in your Will?
All of your assets should be considered as part of your Will and estate planning. Many people do not realise what are classed as assets or how valuable they can be until they take the time to properly plan for the future.
Common assets to consider for your Will include:
- Your home
- Second homes and investment properties
- Business assets
- Art and other high value personal items
- Intellectual property (including for unpublished/unrealised works)
Making a full account of your assets and their value can be critical to effective estate planning, allowing you to potentially reduce the inheritance tax burden on your estate by a significant amount.
What happens if someone dies without a Will?
If someone dies without leaving a valid Will, their estate will be dealt with under the rules of intestacy. This means that who the estate goes to will be decided according to the size of the estate and what living relatives they have.
Exactly how the rules of intestacy apply will depend on the circumstances. However, generally, these rules favour a living spouse or civil partner of the deceased, then any living children, grandchildren and other direct descendants. If there is no living spouse or direct descendants, other close relatives, including the deceased’s parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, would potentially be in line to inherit.
If someone dies without making a Will and they have no living relatives who qualify under the rules of intestacy, then their entire estate would pass to the Crown.
When should I update my Will?
You should review your Will regularly and make sure to update it if there is any significant change in your finances or personal circumstances. Key points at which you should update your Will include if you:
- Get married (this will invalidate any pre-existing Will)
- Get divorced
- Have children
- Move home
- Receive an inheritance
- Change your name
- Start a business
Do you need a solicitor to make a Will?
Some people opt for DIY Wills or Wills made via Will writers who are not part of a firm of solicitors. There is nothing to stop you from doing this, but it can mean you are taking a substantial risk.
Potential problems of making a DIY Will or using a less experienced Will writer include:
- There may be mistakes in your Will that could mean it is not valid, so your estate would be dealt with under intestacy rules
- The full extent of your assets may not be considered and covered
- Your estate might not be planned in the most tax efficient way, increasing the inheritance tax bill that will need to be paid when you pass away
- Your Will may be drafted in a way that is ambiguous, creating confusion about your intentions and increasing the likelihood of disputes over your estate
- If something goes wrong with a Will made by a firm of solicitors, any losses may be covered by their Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) – you would not have this protection with a DIY Will or many Will writers who are not part of a firm of solicitors
We would always recommend working with a firm of solicitors when making your Will so you can be confident that everything has been handled correctly and that you will have the assurance of their Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) if anything did go wrong.
Our Will writing fees
Fixed fee Wills
We can offer fixed fee Wills where appropriate, so you know exactly how much it will cost.
Mirror Will fees
Where a couple wish to have identical Wills to deal with their estates, we can offer a reduced fee for creating two ‘mirror Wills’.
Hourly rates for our Will solicitors
We can offer competitive hourly rates for more complex Wills and estate planning matters, ensuring you have exactly the level of support you require to properly plan your affairs.
Contact our Will solicitors in Essex
To have an initial discussion about how we can help with your Will and estate planning, please contact your local Bright & Sons Solicitors office in Maldon, Witham or Tiptree or make an enquiry and we will get back to you promptly.