Protect your loved ones with a professionally written Will

If you die without leaving a will, you could be causing unnecessary hardship for your loved ones, by leaving the future of your estate in somebody else’s hands. By having a professional, legally binding will, you can make sure your wishes are known should the worst occur.

Whatever your concern, we’re here to help

Protect your partner

Ensure your partner is looked after, even after you’re gone.

 

Take care of your children

Make plans for the guardianship and inheritance of your children.

 

Look after your pets

Leave your pets in the most capable of hands.

 
Partnerships and Marriages

Protect your partner with a professionally written Will

Ensuring your partner is adequately provided for when you die is a concern for everyone.

If you’re married or in a civil partnership, your partner will automatically inherit your estate in accordance with the law. If you are not, they will have no legal right to inherit anything unless specifically outlined in your will.

This can cause both emotional and financial strain should one of you die unexpectedly. It’s vital that you record your wishes in a valid will in order to for your partner to avoid any unnecessary hardships, should the worst occur.

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If you have children as well as a spouse, your children will inherit 50% of your estate above the first £ 250,000, of which will go to your spouse.

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If you have children as well as a spouse, your children will inherit 50% of your estate above the first £ 250,000, of which will go to your spouse.

Divorce & Separation

If you have separated from a spouse but are not legally divorced, they may still be entitled to inherit your estate unless you have explicitly stated otherwise in a valid will. Separation does not have any bearing on any existing wills you have written.

If you have divorced, this will invalidate any previous wills that were drawn up for you. When your circumstances change, even if they have been legally binding changes, you need to revise your will to ensure that everything still meets your wishes.

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It’s recommended that you revise your will every 1-2 years to ensure any changes are accounted for, and that the will still accurately reflects your situation.

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It’s recommended that you revise your will every 1-2 years to ensure any changes are accounted for, and that the will still accurately reflects your situation.

Families and Children

Take care of your children, even after you’re gone

If you die without leaving a will, any children in your care will be the second in the line for inheriting your estate, after any legal spouse. If you do not have a surviving spouse, your estate will be divided equally between your children.

However, there are exceptions. Any children in your care that are not biologically yours and have not been formally adopted (such as step or foster children) will not be in line to receive any inheritance.

A will is extremely important in order to fill the gaps of what is recognised by the guidelines of the law, and make sure your wishes are fulfilled when you’re gone.

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A will is vital if you have biological children but wish to leave certain belongings, finances or properties to them individually. You may also want to recognise grandchildren, nieces or nephews in your will who would otherwise not receive anything.

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A will is vital if you have biological children but wish to leave certain belongings, finances or properties to them individually. You may also want to recognise grandchildren, nieces or nephews in your will who would otherwise not receive anything.

Child Custody

If you have children under 18 in your care and they do not have another surviving biological parent, the custody of the children will be brought into question. They can not be directly passed to other family members without the consent of Social Services, unless your wishes have been put into writing in your will.

A verbal agreement is not enough to confirm legal guardianship. If you don’t leave a valid will which affirms it in writing, a costly legal process could ensue to have your children passed to those you trust the most.

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Even if your chosen guardians are willing to enter into a legal battle, it’s not guaranteed they would win. A valid will means you can decide on the future of your children, rather than leaving it to the courts.

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Even if your chosen guardians are willing to enter into a legal battle, it’s not guaranteed they would win. A valid will means you can decide on the future of your children, rather than leaving it to the courts.

Furry Friends

Pass your pets to someone you trust

Your furry friends are part of your family. It’s only right they’re taken care of in the same way.

You can use your will to appoint a guardian for your pet, giving you peace of mind that should anything happen, your pet will be cared for by someone you trust.

You can also leave your chosen beneficiary a cash gift to cover the cost of caring for your pet. This can be viewed as a sort of maintenance payment to cover costs such a vets bills and insurance.

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If you can’t find someone willing to offer your pet a home, you can request that your pet is looked after by an animal charity instead, such as the RSPCA or The Cinnamon Trust.

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If you can’t find someone willing to offer your pet a home, you can request that your pet is looked after by an animal charity instead, such as the RSPCA or The Cinnamon Trust.

Why use a will writer over a “simple will” service?

A “simple will” is the term used for wills which are prepared either with a DIY kit, or an online service which doesn’t offer a specialist to guide you personally through the preparation of your will. The type of will that suits you best entirely depends on your circumstances.

DIY Will Kit

Online Service

Bespoke Will

Priceapprox. £ 13.00from £ 99.00from £ 150.00
Features
Costs less than a solicitor Option included Option included Option included
Worded to avoid legal misinterpretation Option not includedVaries by provider Option included
Allows for change in circumstances Option not includedVaries by provider Option included
Ongoing specialist support at the end of the phone Option not includedVaries by provider Option included
Preparation of your will by a trained specialist Option not included Option not included Option included
Can cover arrangements for businesses you own Option not included Option not included Option included
Can deal with overseas estates Option not included Option not included Option included
Allows for complex inheritance law arrangements Option not included Option not included Option included
Personalised advice on inheritance tax Option not included Option not included Option included
Secure storage services for your will Option not included Option not included Option included
Ability to include the creation of a trust into your will Option not included Option not included Option included
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Choose a Professional Will service if…

assets

You have complex wishes for how you’d like your assets distributed.

inheritance

You have a large estate which will fall above the threshold for inheritance tax.

health

You are above 50, or have major health complications or ongoing support needs.

business

You own a business or hold any assets overseas.

family

You’re not confident that your will won’t be contested by family or other beneficiaries.

trusts

You don’t want to leave any of your assets in a Trust (see more about Trusts here).

Use Cases

A bespoke will can include any clauses about how your estate can be divided should your circumstances change, and you are able to express more complex wishes in how you would like your estate to be divided.

Case One

Andrea made a will when she was dating Tim. She already had 2 children from a previous relationship. She then later marries Tim, but unfortunately becomes seriously ill and passes away several years later.

As Andrea only made a simple will, the document became void when she married and by the laws of inheritance in the UK, Tim then inherits all of Andrea’s estate and the children from her previous relationship receive nothing. A bespoke will allows for changes in circumstances and can give additional wishes to be carried out should the situation change, therefore Andrea could have protected a share of her assets for her children after marriage.

How would a bespoke will help Andrea?

If Andrea had made a bespoke will with a specialist such as Vital Documents, she could have included more complex guidelines for her inheritance should her marital status change. This would have protected at least part of her assets to go directly to her children, as well as her spouse. With a bespoke will, you can include a lot more detail when it comes to how your assets are divided and plan ahead for any changes which may occur, which will all be discussed with your will writing specialist.

Case Two

James is a widower with 2 children. However one of his children is estranged after a family disagreement and they haven’t had any contact for many years. James decides to create a simple will and leaves all of his estate to the one child he has maintained contact with, as if he had died without a will, both children would have received an equal share.

However, when James dies his estranged child contests the will and receives their share of his estate. The simple will James created did not allow for the complexities of effectively disinheriting anyone who has a rightful claim to a share of his estate and therefore was successfully contested against his wishes.

How would a bespoke will help James?

Simply leaving a child out of a will does not effectively disinherit them in the eyes of the law. However, without a bespoke will prepared by a specialist like Vital Documents, these points are overlooked and leaves your will open to being misinterpreted or even ignored completely. By having a specialist assist you with your will, all of your personal circumstances are taken into consideration and translated clearly into the document. This means that you have complete peace of mind that once you’re gone, your wishes will be carried out accurately.

Case Three

Wendy and Alan have been married for 20 years and have three children. Alan makes a simple will and outlines his wishes, but this has not been prepared or checked by a specialist.

When Alan dies, the executor of his will has issues in determining what Alan’s wishes were as they are ambiguous. This causes arguments within the family and eventually the estate is dealt with along the guidelines of UK law and inheritance, rather than Alan’s will.

How would a bespoke will help Alan?

Wills are sometimes clear and straightforward but, more often than not, things can get complicated. Despite your best efforts, it is easy to create a will that isn’t easily interpreted or executed if your wishes are complex. There are set guidelines which must be adhered to when creating a valid will which can be carried out by your executor and by using a specialist, you can be sure that there is no confusion. This can help your family understand your wishes and avoid any additional stress or disagreements when the time comes.

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Questions

  • Yes. It is very common to name the executor of you will as one of the beneficiaries. This is completely legal and will not cause any complications in enacting your wishes.

  • You can either ask your executor to keep the original signed copy, or more commonly, have it placed in secure storage for safe keeping. Whatever option you choose, make sure that executors know where and how to access the will.

  • Your will may be contested if someone doesn’t benefit from your estate after you die, and would have expected to. Although this isn’t a common occurrence, you can take steps to avoid any confusion and upset by speaking to your friends and family about your will before creating it. Someone may be able to contest your will if they can prove you haven’t made reasonable financial provisions for them.

    It’s important that you seek expert guidance when creating your will to ensure that your wishes are clear and legally enactable.

  • Technically, anyone over 18 can be the witness to your signature. However, it’s always recommended that you choose someone impartial; that is someone who is not a family member or friend, a beneficiary of your will of the executor.

  • If you create a will and wish all of your children to inherit, it is important that you make this clear. Naming only some of your children, and omitting others, could result in your will being contested.

    When someone in the line of inheritance who should by rights receive a share isn’t specifically named, it may be ruled as a mistake and be legally overridden. If you want to formally disinherit a child or a direct family member, you will need to make this clear and give your reasoning in your will.

  • Yes, these are known as Conditional Gifts. These are different to Absolute Gifts which carry no obligations. If the recipient is to receive a Conditional Gift, then they must agree to the guidelines set in your will in order to inherit the gift. For example, you may leave a gift of money to a grandchild, on the condition that they use a portion of it to go to university. Another example would be that you leave a cash gift to a friend, on the agreement that they take on lifelong guardianship of your pet.

    Any conditional gifts should be reasonable and ideally discussed with the beneficiary before making the conditions. You should also make sure that the guidelines are clear. There are some things which can not be set as conditions for gifts in a will, such as requirements of marriage.

  • Yes, though it’s extremely important that you let your executor know that you have done so. It is often the case that a will is not looked at until after a funeral and therefore your wishes may not be known before the service. Create an Additional Clauses section within your bespoke will and use this to provide any guidance for your funeral. Remember however, that this will be seen as your wishes only and is not legally binding.

  • Yes, in fact it’s advisable to regularly review your will to ensure it still meets your needs. It is possible in a bespoke will to build in certain changes which you may foresee occurring, however things can often happen unexpectedly, even suddenly! Therefore it’s wise to have a revision at least once every few years, or after large life events such as marriage or divorce.