Wills and probate: all you need to know about estate planning and safeguarding your family’s finances

Appoint a guardian to ensure your child will always be well-looked after, no matter what. Picture: G

Appoint a guardian to ensure your child will always be well-looked after, no matter what. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Sarah Woodward and Rebecca Elliott, from Wards Solicitors in Clevedon, discuss planning for the future, reaching life’s major milestones and the importance of having an up-to-date Will throughout it all.

Sarah Woodward and Rebecca Elliott explain the the importance of writing and reviewing your Will. Pi

Sarah Woodward and Rebecca Elliott explain the the importance of writing and reviewing your Will. Picture: Wards Solicitors - Credit: Archant

Q: Why do I need a Will?

A: To ensure that those you love most are provided for, even after you’re no longer here.

Don’t assume things will work out the way you want. Intestacy laws don’t accurately reflect many modern family structures – unmarried partners and stepchildren may not be eligible to receive anything unless you stipulate it in a Will.

Moving in with a long-term partner or buying your first house can be a good time to write your Will.

Moving in with a long-term partner or buying your first house can be a good time to write your Will. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Q: When should I write my Will?

A: Whenever reaching a major milestone in your life, for example, moving in with your partner, buying your first home or having your first child. Writing a Will is not just something you do in later life.

It’s important to regularly update your Will to reflect your current lifestyle. We recommend reviewing it every three to four years and updating it if your circumstances change, e.g. you inherit money, get married, divorced or co-habit.


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It can offer you peace of mind to know, you’ve appointed to ensure your children will always be well looked after and made preparations to ensure your partner can stay living in your family home.

Getting married? Now would be a good time to write or review your Will. Picture: Getty Images.

Getting married? Now would be a good time to write or review your Will. Picture: Getty Images. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Q: Do I need a solicitor to write a Will?

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A: A solicitor that specialises in Wills and probate can help you plan for the future and prepare for all eventualities. They can make you aware of things you may not have considered.

We’ll get to know you - understand your finances, family, and personal circumstances – and can offer bespoke advice to help safeguard your estate and assets.

Name someone you trust as a Lasting Power of Attorney to make welfare and financial decisions on you

Name someone you trust as a Lasting Power of Attorney to make welfare and financial decisions on your behalf, in case you can't. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

We can offer inheritance tax advice to help you get the most from your estate.

Q: Should I appoint a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A: Putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place ensures someone you trust can handle your finances and make health and welfare decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to.

It’s a little like taking out an insurance policy – you hope you’ll never have to use it – but it’s good to have there just in case.

Your attorney can act occasionally or take over completely should you lose capacity.

Q: How can I apply for probate?

A: It’s difficult to cope with the loss of a loved one and even more challenging if you are the executor of their estate.

We can offer as much, or as little help as you need and explain what steps you need to take. We can help you contact the various organisations where your loved one’s assets are held, apply for the grant of probate, deal with any inheritance tax and finalise the administration of the estate.

Beneficiaries need to be notified, all assets collected, and the estate divided up according to the instructions left. Some estates are more complex than others. We recommend seeking professional help to guide you through this.

Q: How can I access the legal help I need during Covid-19?

A: We’re following all government guidelines to ensure staff and clients’ safety. At the moment, face to face meetings are by appointment only. We can also arrange meetings by video call or phone.

Call or email us to book an appointment. A member of our team will direct you to the right solicitor and explain what you need to bring to the meeting.

We have been providing expert legal advice to local businesses and individuals for over 100 years and have over 75 legal specialists based in offices across Bristol and the South West.

Visit wards.uk.com for more information.

Call 01275 850470 or email contactclevedon@wards.uk.com to book an appointment.

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