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    What happens if I die without a Will?

    Complete our two-minute multiple choice questionnaire and find out where all your money, property and other assets will go if you don’t have a Will.

    Make a Will for peace of mind

    Make sure your money, property/land and personal belongings go to the people you care about most. Our Wills team can help you sort out your affairs and guide you through the entire process in a sympathetic and professional manner.

     

    Look after your family

    Our specialist team of Solicitors can draft bespoke wills individually tailored to meet your needs whether you are single, married or cohabiting. Making a Will ensures your children, step-children and grandchildren are catered for. You can also provide for vulnerable beneficiaries or those who lack the capacity to manage their financial affairs.

    We can provide appropriate advice in the event any beneficiaries separate from a spouse/civil partner or are declared bankrupt or insolvent. Additionally, we can provide appropriate advice in the case of second marriages or should you have children from previous relationships. A Will is a great way to appoint a guardian for your minor children, make provision for the care of pets and leave specific legacies (gifts of money) to friends, other family members or charities.

    Wills & Inheritance Quality Scheme and The Association of Lifetime Lawyers (ALL)

    We are proud to be members of the Law Society’s Wills & Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS), a prestigious mark of high quality which requires us to provide enhanced standards of expertise, client care and service. Some individual members of our team also have additional specialist qualifications as members of respected professional bodies such as: the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP), The Association of Lifetime Lawyers (ALL) and the Law Society’s Private Client Section.

    What happens if I die without making a Will and other questions about Wills?

    • Who can make a Will?

      To make a Will you need to be over 18 years of age, unless you are on active military service, and have ‘testamentary capacity’ – i.e. you must be of sound mind.

    • What happens if I die without making a Will?

      If you die without a will, all of your assets (money, land, personal belongings) will be distributed in accordance with the ‘Intestacy Rules’.  These strict rules may not be appropriate for your individual family circumstances.

      Although the Intestacy Rules were updated in 2014, some modern family setups are still not catered for. For example, cohabitees who have lived together for many years, but are not married or in a civil partnership, have no automatic rights of inheritance under the Intestacy Rules.  This can be problematic if the house is just owned by one cohabitee.  The surviving cohabitee has no automatic legal rights to inherit the property and could potentially find themself homeless, causing unnecessary uncertainty and distress.

      The Intestacy Rules also set out a list of people who are entitled to administer your estate, known as ‘Personal Representatives’ who may not necessarily be who you would choose to fulfil this role.  If you make a Will, you can appoint one or more ‘Executor’ to administer your estate after your death.

    • I’ve recently been diagnosed with dementia. Can I still make a Will?

      It is still possible to make a Will even after receiving a diagnosis of dementia, especially in the early stages. In these circumstances, however, we always recommend that an assessment of your ‘testamentary capacity’ is carried out by a medical professional.  The existence of such a report will be extremely valuable in the event that the validity of your Will is challenged after your death.

    • I made my Will almost 25 years ago. Will it have expired by now?

      No, as a Will cannot expire, although it may be that some of the information is out of date, and some of the beneficiaries may have passed away.  You may have got married, or divorced, or re-married, and all of these circumstances can affect the operation of your Will You should review your Will every 2-3 years, even if you do not make any changes, or when there is a significant event in your life, e.g. having children, marriage, divorce.

    • Some of my beneficiaries have moved house and I have a new grandchild. Do I need to update my Will?

      You don’t need to update your Will if the only change is to the beneficiaries’ addresses. As for including new grandchildren, it depends on how your existing Will is worded, so we recommend that you speak to us for advice.

    • I have fallen out with some of my beneficiaries. Can I just cross them off my Will?

      No.  Once a Will has been signed and witness, it cannot be amended and you will need to make a new Will or a Codicil depending upon the extent of the changes. You can remove existing beneficiaries and add new ones, but simply writing amendments onto your existing Will is not legally binding, and rectifying the situation could potentially be very costly and time-consuming for your Executors to deal with after your death, and could also lead to a disputed Will.  You should seek legal advice if you are considering removing a beneficiary from your Will, particularly if the beneficiary is a child, grand-child, spouse, cohabitee or civil partner.

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    - Did you know?

    A man organised a very special treat for his wife in his will: he made sure a florist delivered a single red rose to his wife every day until she died.

    Hear it from our clients

    M. Weafer

    Very helpful, attentive, kind and patient.

    CJ

    Very satisfied.

    MJ Hiles

    Everything went well. I felt comfortable talking to the staff.

    AD

    Very good service.

    T. Wood

    All good.

    P. Holt

    Her bedside manner was excellent.

    D. Thursfield

    Inspired confidence

    S. Wilson

    Extremely efficient service.  I was apprehensive about making a Will but Jessica guided me through everything – she explained everything and gave me space to ask any questions.  Would use her again.

    Let's start the conversation

    Make sure your wishes are followed after your death – make an appointment with a member of our Private Client team to discuss your options.

    0800 614 722
    enquiries@birchallblackburn.co.uk
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