Making a Will

Why we say..
I’ll think about doing my Will sometime soon ….

Putting the affairs of you and your family in order.
Your Will is one of the most important documents you will ever sign. It is also one of the main documents that people do not want to think about! It tells those you leave behind what you want to happen to your money and property following your death.

Making a Will enables you to fulfil your own wishes rather than those of the government.

Who carries out your wishes after your death?
The people who are responsible for dealing with your estate in accordance with your Will are called Executors. They have a legal duty to:

  • value all your assets and identify your debts
  • apply, if necessary for the Grant of Probate, which gives them authority to act on matters
  • consider any claims against your estate
  • settle your income tax affairs
  • distribute the Residuary Estate to those entitled under your Will
  • establish guardians where children are involved
  • pay any tax, debts and specific gifts in your Will including death duties and trusts

It is vital that the Executors you choose are trustworthy and capable of taking on what is sometimes a quite a difficult task.

What happens to my minor children?
If you are married the situation is simple – the surviving parent will continue to look after the children.

What happens if you die together or if you are a single parent?
If you are the person with parental responsibility you are entitled to appoint a guardian in your Will. If a guardian has not been appointed then the Courts will make that decision for you.

What happens if I do not make a Will?
If you die without making a Will you die Intestate. On Intestacy the law sets out who will be entitled to your estate. Generally the order of entitlement is as follows:

  • surviving spouse
  • children
  • parents
  • other relatives in a specified order.

However, your surviving spouse will not necessarily get the whole of your estate. If the estate is over a certain amount and you have children, your children will also be entitled to a share.

Can my ex-spouse/partner claim against my estate?
If you have been divorced and die Intestate, your ex-spouse will not automatically be entitled to a share in your estate, but may be one of the category of persons entitled to make a claim against your estate. If you are separated at the date of your death and you have no will, your estranged spouse would be entitled to your estate in accordance with the Intestacy rules shown above. Clearly you must make a new Will if separated or divorced.

What if I get married?
If you already have a Will and then marry, the marriage automatically invalidates your Will, unless it was specifically made in contemplation of that marriage. Therefore, a new Will needs to be made.

Will my estate be taxed?
The first £325,000 of every estate is free of Inheritance Tax (“death duties”). Any amount over £325,000 is taxed at 40%. There are ways of reducing Inheritance Tax. Certain exemptions and reliefs are available, and you can gift money without having to pay tax.

Legal disputes relating to Wills and Estates
Legal disputes are extremely expensive and often very distressing for those involved. Often all of the legal costs of all the parties are paid out of the estate which means that much of the inheritance can be wasted in legal wrangling. It is essential to try and avoid this by making sure that your Will is properly drafted and makes appropriate provision for those who might otherwise try to challenge it.

Useful link: www.publicguardian.gov.uk

Our Wills Team:


Richard Walford
Richard Walford

Partner
Exeter
email | 01392 424242

INDIVIDUALS, Elderly Client, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate & Tax, Trusts & Settlements, Wills & Estate Administration, Inheritance Tax Planning, Step Members

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Don Middlemost
Don Middlemost

Partner
Budleigh Salterton
email | 01395 445581

INDIVIDUALS, Elderly Client, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate & Tax, Court of Protection, Trusts & Settlements, Wills & Estate Administration, Inheritance Tax Planning

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Jamilah Pringle
Jamilah Evans

Associate Solicitor
Exeter
email | 01392 424242

INDIVIDUALS, Elderly Client, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate & Tax, Court of Protection, Wills & Estate Administration, Inheritance Tax Planning, Step Members

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Martin Justice Solicitor
Martin Justice

Partner
Okehampton
email | 01837 512100

Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate & Tax, Court of Protection, Trusts & Settlements, Wills & Estate Administration, Inheritance Tax Planning, Step Members

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Tim Leat
Tim Leat

Chartered Legal Executive
Sidmouth
email | 01392 512443

INDIVIDUALS, Elderly Client, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate & Tax, Trusts & Settlements, Wills & Estate Administration, Inheritance Tax Planning, Step Members

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Nysha Forsey
Nysha Forsey

Associate Solicitor
Crediton
email | 01363 775566

INDIVIDUALS, Elderly Client, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate & Tax, Court of Protection, Trusts & Settlements, Wills & Estate Administration, Inheritance Tax Planning, Step Members

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Lisa Todd

Solicitor
Ottery St Mary
email | 01392 424242

INDIVIDUALS, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate & Tax, Court of Protection, Trusts & Settlements, Wills & Estate Administration, Inheritance Tax Planning

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Jonathan Cave
Jonathan Cave

Associate Solicitor
Sidmouth
email | 01395 512443

INDIVIDUALS, Elderly Client, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate & Tax, Court of Protection, Trusts & Settlements, Wills & Estate Administration, Inheritance Tax Planning

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Sarah Martin
Sarah Martin

Associate Solicitor
Exeter
email | 01392 424242

Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate & Tax, Court of Protection, Trusts & Settlements, Wills & Estate Administration, Inheritance Tax Planning

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Alyson Coulson
Alyson Coulson

Partner
Exeter
email | 01392 424242

INDIVIDUALS, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate & Tax, Court of Protection, Trusts & Settlements, Wills & Estate Administration, Inheritance Tax Planning

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Conall Ryan Gilbert Stephens Solicitors
Conall Ryan

Associate Chartered Legal Executive
Crediton
email | 01363 775566

INDIVIDUALS, Elderly Client, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate & Tax, Trusts & Settlements, Wills & Estate Administration, Inheritance Tax Planning, Agricultural, Step Members

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Deborah Langham 5
Deborah Langham

Private Client Executive
Budleigh Salterton
email | 01395 445581

INDIVIDUALS, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate & Tax, Court of Protection, Trusts & Settlements, Wills & Estate Administration, Inheritance Tax Planning

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Susan Hein Griggs Gilbert Stephens Solicitors
Susan Hein-Griggs

Chartered Legal Executive
Exeter
email | 01392 424242

INDIVIDUALS, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate & Tax, Wills & Estate Administration

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