Two thirds of adults in the UK don’t have a Will
Making a Will creates certainty, reduces worry and gives you the peace of mind of knowing exactly how your money, property and possessions will be dealt with after your death. However, around two thirds of adults in the UK have not made a Will.
Philip Baldwin, a solicitor in Bray & Bray’s Wills & Probate department, answers some of the most frequently asked questions on the subject.
Q: There’s no point in me making a Will, is there?
A: I hope you’ll change your mind when you read this article. There are not many times in your life when you can see a solicitor and save money. Making a Will can be one of them. You can also make sure that your money and ‘things’ go to the people that you choose; or appoint a guardian to look after your children in the event of your death. Without a Will, who do you think will decide for you?
Q: How much does it cost to make a Will?
A: That’s easy. A simple Will costs from as little as £175 (or £150 for a pensioner) and two ‘mirror Wills’ cost from £275 (or £250 for pensioners). A better question might be ‘How much will it cost if I don’t have a Will?’ As well as looking after those that you love, depending on what you own, you could save £000’s in taxes, fees and expenses by planning ahead and making a Will.
Q: Someone suggested that if I give my house to my children I won’t have to pay inheritance tax or care home fees. Is that a good idea?
A: If you are thinking about questions like this you are already thinking about what we call ‘estate planning’. By talking to a solicitor who deals with estate planning, you can certainly make the most of your money and pass as much as possible to the people that you choose. However, giving your home to someone else, without speaking to an expert, is rarely a good idea. It can cause all sorts of problems. You should tread very carefully before signing up to any ‘scheme’ that claims to protect
your home from being sold if you need to go into care. Local authorities are increasingly employing ''avoidance officers'' to ensure that people are not using such tactics to avoid care fees.
Q: I look after an elderly relative with Dementia. Do I need a Power of Attorney?
A: A Power of Attorney is a document that gives someone, that you choose, the right to make decisions on your behalf (if and when you need them to). There are two types; one deals with financial decisions and the other with health and welfare decisions. They are not just for older people, or people with dementia. In my opinion, everyone should have one. You never know what is around the corner. Remember, you can only make a Power of Attorney or a Will when you have mental capacity (understanding). Therefore, if you leave it too late, you may not be able to make one when you need it most.