Before she died, famous Irish author Maeve Binchy claimed she made her first will aged 21, and had updated it more than forty times in her lifetime. The best-selling author died in 2012, leaving £8.3 million, it was recently confirmed. She left two thirds to her husband and the rest went to numerous friends and groups, including her local golf club.
You will probably not update your will forty times, but any changes you should want to make are straightforward, if this is done with the professional help of a Solicitor. Getting a Solicitor to write your Will means that if your circumstances do change over time, or you have a change of heart over someone or a local charity, this can be reflected in an updated Will and at little extra expense. Your Solicitor can also retain your original Will for safekeeping and can make the changes without delay.
Not a lot of 21-year-olds will be as organised as Maeve Binchy, or have the assets, to think about making a Will, but it’s hard to overstate the importance of making a Will in the first place and of getting professional advice from a Solicitor when you do so. There’s nothing to stop you writing your own Will, but it is easy to inadvertently overlook something which could have disastrous consequences for the very people you want to be looked after when you are no longer here.
An innocent but all-too-common mistake in this instance is to have your Spouse as one of two witnesses required. This doesn’t make the will invalid but it will prevent your Spouse from inheriting anything. Solicitors will also include important clauses which will assist in the Probate of your Estate.
Some people think they don’t need to leave a Will at all because their surviving Spouse will automatically inherit their Estate, but this is not the case. In certain circumstances, the surviving Spouse could only receive a limited amount, while a surviving but unmarried partner could be left with nothing whatsoever. Getting professional help from a Solicitor will ensure you avoid any similar pitfalls in providing for your loved ones. Your Solicitor can also advise you about possible savings you can make which will benefit your beneficiaries, such as how you can legally avoid Inheritance Tax.