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Many people delay making a Will, almost as if they think doing so will bring them bad luck. Yet it is a task which, when done, brings peace of mind. You know that should the worst happen, your affairs are in order and that your property and money will go where you want to it to go.

There are a number of misconceptions about Wills;

i) That only the elderly should make them - in fact it is equally important for young couples who may need (amongst other things) to appoint guardians for any minor children.

ii) I don't own any property or have a lot of money - even if this is the case in reality most of us are worth more than we think, especially if you have taken out an insurance policy, perhaps linked to a mortgage, or indeed you have an occupational pension (and you haven't written the benefits of each in trust), either of these may pay out into your Estate.

Also, although we recommend reviewing your Will every 3 years or so, or after any major event (such as the birth of children or grandchildren), your financial situation may change (such as an inheritance or a lottery win!) and therefore it is better that you have a Will in place that covers your wishes rather than relying on the rules of intestacy.

iii) We live together, and treat each other as spouses, although we have never actually married/entered into a civil partnership, and therefore all our assets will pass automatically to my surviving partner - sadly this is not true. If you die without having made a Will (referred to as dying intestate) then how your Estate is distributed will be governed by the rules of intestacy, and irrespective of how long you have lived together, your surviving partner could receive nothing at all.

iv) All our assets are held in our joint names so we don't need to bother with Wills - although it is usual for jointly held property to pass to the surviving owner on the first death, what happens on the death of the last of you?

The above are only a few examples of the misunderstandings we have encountered in practice, and do not even touch on some of more the complex situations we routinely deal with, such as second marriages, where provision needs to be made for your new spouse whilst also protecting your children's interests from your first marriage, what to do if you own assets overseas and ways to reduce Inheritance Tax being paid on your Estate.

At Burningham & Brown we have long and comprehensive experience in drafting Wills, together with advising on Inheritance Tax mitigation. Our Wills are drafted by our Partners, who have the necessary experience and ability to carry out your wishes, delivering top quality service efficiently and at a sensible rate.

Our aim is always to produce a Will that is clear and concise, and that you readily understand. If applicable, the Partners in the firm are willing to act as Executors of your Will if so requested. As with all dealings with us, you can be assured that your affairs will always be discussed in the strictest of confidence, and we offer a free safe custody service for your original Will.

Therefore if you want to decide:

i) Who benefits from your Estate;
ii) What they will receive;
iii) Who will actually carry out your instructions in your Will - your Executors; and
iv) Who will be the guardians of your children

Then the only way to do this is by making a Will.

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