A Will is the best way to ensure your assets are passed to those you would like to inherit on your death. If you do not make a Will, your estate may end up passing to people you would not wish to inherit. You do not have to make a Will with a professional legal adviser, however by not taking professional advice you risk your Will being invalid, or not having the effect that you might expect. Preparing a Will with a solicitor or other legal professional can also help to prevent potential conflicts between family members and increased tax bills.
If you do not have a Will when you die, you are said to die 'intestate' meaning that the law will decide how your estate is divided. This can often result in disagreements between those who are left behind and has the potential to cause serious damage to important family relationships.
At BakerLaw, our lawyers will discuss the options available to you and ensure your Will not only reflects your wishes, but effectively protects your assets and is tailored to your personal circumstances.
Our professional Wills lawyers can assist with matters including:
- Making a Will
- Reviewing your Will and Inheritance Tax position
- Updating your Will
- Wills & Estate disputes
We will usually invite you to our offices in Farnham to meet with one of our Wills lawyers to take your instructions. Where this might not be convenient, we are also happy to take your instructions via video call. Home visits can also be arranged where appropriate. We are always flexible to the needs of our clients so that the process can be as convenient for you as possible, although we will need to meet you face-to-face at some point during the process, whether that be in person at our Farnham office, or via video call.
For further details of our Wills service and our fees please click here. For further information regarding writing your Will, you may find our will questionnaire helpful. Please click here if you are making a Will as an individual, or here if you are making Wills as a couple .
Our expertise with Wills & lifetime planning
The head of our Private Client team Amy Nelson has specialised exclusively in Wills and lifetime planning since 2006, giving her exceptional expertise in this complex area. Amy is a member of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP), a worldwide organisation for most experienced and senior practitioners in the field of inheritance law.
Amy is supported by an able team of legal specialists who you can read more about here.
How we can help you with your Will
At BakerLaw, we offer a cover-all Wills service to provide for the individual needs of each of our clients. Whether you are considering making a Will for the first time, you have made a Will before that you want to review, or there are specific changes that you would like to make to your existing Will, your needs will be covered by our Wills service:
Making a Will
Whenever you want to make a Will it is sensible to consider taking specialist legal advice as part of the process. This advice will help to ensure that your wishes are set out clearly, with no room for confusion or misinterpretation that could lead to unnecessary tax bills, errors, or family misunderstandings and fall-outs.
We will guide you through the process, taking your initial details and thoughts on what you want to achieve for your Will prior to our initial meeting, to ensure the best use of time when you come in to see us. During the meeting we will talk through your individual circumstances, wishes and needs, to finalise your instructions so that we can prepare your Will for your approval and signature. We will also provide you with a follow-up letter containing full advice upon our discussions and your wishes, so that you have a lasting record of your instructions to us and our advice to you. We know that Wills and other documents often contain legal wording which can be confusing and difficult to understand. Therefore our letter of advice to you will explain all details of your Will and our advice in plain, straightforward terms, so that you can rest assured you fully understand both our advice, and the Will we prepare for you.
Finally, we will oversee the signing of your Will to ensure it is validly executed. We also offer complimentary storage of the original document for your lifetime, to give you peace of mind that your Will is not only expertly prepared, but also safely stored.
Reviewing your Will
It is sensible to fully review your Will at least every 5 years so you can consider how your personal and financial circumstances, and the law may have changed in that time and any changes you may want to consider making to your Will as a result. It is also important to bear in mind that any Will you have may become invalid if you get married.
Our expert Wills lawyers can review your Will with you, discuss your current circumstances and advise upon any changes in law that may have taken effect since you last prepared a Will. They can also suggest any changes that may be beneficial for you to make, that you may not have considered.
The process of reviewing your Will is similar to the process of making a new Will, as it is important that we discuss and take your instructions on all relevant aspects of your personal and family circumstances, your financial situation and your wishes for who is to inherit when you pass away. Therefore, if you are unsure whether you want or need to update your Will, or whether you simply need to review the document in the light of your current situation and up-to-date law, we will discuss all options with you and help you consider your needs and come to a conclusion as to what is best for you.
'Amending' your Will
If you already have a Will in place, and are looking to update or make changes to your Will, you can do this by either preparing a new Will or creating a supplementary document known as a ‘Codicil’ to amend your existing Will. It is a common misunderstanding that a lawyer's work and time required to deal with making changes to an existing Will is less than that required to create a new Will. In reality, when you are advised by professionally regulated lawyers (such as our team at BakerLaw), in order for the process to be properly carried out, the level of time and work required is the same for advising upon and preparing a Codicil as it is for preparing a new Will (or reviewing an existing Will). In our experience, we have found that more often than not, the circumstances are such that a Codicil would not be appropriate, and so we do not prepare these documents as standard. Instead, we would look to prepare a new Will, incorporating any changes you wish to make. As explained above, the time and care required for the process is the same regardless of whether the 'end result' is a new Will or a Codicil, and so our fees for preparing a new Will would be no more than if we prepared a Codicil to an existing Will.
Acting as Executors
At BakerLaw LLP, we offer the service of acting as professional Executors, and will be happy to discuss the appointment of the partners of BakerLaw LLP, when preparing your Will.
If we are appointed to act as Executors of an estate, we will always ensure that all aspects of the estate administration are dealt with. Please see our Probate & Estate Administration page for more details.
Wills & Estate disputes
Inheritance disputes are sadly, all too common. They can occur where someone dies without leaving a Will, where a Will is unclear or where someone is simply unhappy with the contents of a Will or provision from an estate they expected to benefit from.
Our Contentious Probate experts advise both those seeking to dispute a Will and those acting for the estate who need to defend claims. We can advise you on your legal position and the available options, giving you the best chance of achieving a swift and cost-effective outcome, without court proceedings if possible.
Our Head of Dispute Resolution Mark Ridley is highly experienced in acting for clients on both sides of a wide range of inheritance disputes. Mark is a member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), reflecting his exceptional expertise.
Our Will pricing
Fixed fee Wills
We offer a fixed fee Will writing service for straightforward estates and instructions. This gives you certainty over the cost involved in making a Will.
Hourly rates for Wills & estate planning
For more complex Wills and estates, we will charge an hourly rate based on the level of expertise required to effectively service your needs.
For more information about our fixed fee Wills and hourly rates, please click here.
I have found a Will Writer's services that are cheaper? Why shouldn't I just use them?
If you take advice from a professionally regulated law firm like BakerLaw, your lawyer will take certain steps and ensure your needs and situation have been properly considered before preparing your Will for you, and that you fully understand the terms of your Will. This includes discussing your personal and family situation, your finances, and who you would like to inherit your assets and belongings when you pass away. Unregulated Will Writers are not subject to the same rules and requirements as regulated law firms, and so are not required to take the same care in ensuring your needs and situation are fully considered. It is often the case that an unregulated Will Writer might come at an initial lower cost, however the quality of the advice and the Will that you receive is often unfortunately not what you might hope for. In our experience we often find after someone dies, having prepared their Will with an unregulated Will Writer:
- multiple mistakes have been made in the Will itself - meaning that it does not have the effect that the testator (the person who was making the Will) wanted;
- the terms of the Will have not been explained properly to the testator - meaning that their estate does not pass as per their wishes, although they thought at the time that it would;
- insufficient steps have been taken to give the Will its intended effect - sometimes other steps have to be taken, in addition to the preparation of the Will to ensure that the assets the Will is intended to deal with are in fact covered by the Will. This can include changing how property is owned at the Land Registry, or putting certain assets in trust, for example. If these steps are not taken, the Will may not achieve the testator's aims as they had intended.
These are just a few examples of common issues which arise when someone prepares their will with an unregulated Will Writer, as opposed to a professionally regulated law firm.
I don't think I have enough assets to worry about making a Will – do I?
You may be surprised, as your assets could include not only savings in the bank and property but also life insurance policies, motor vehicles and jewellery.
We have young children but very few assets – why should we make a Will?
It's not only people with money and property who should make a Will. All parents should make a Will to appoint guardians for their young children because if both parents die, the guardians you have appointed will take on the responsibility for bringing up your children. By making a guardianship appointment, you can set out who you want to look after your children if you both pass away, as opposed to guardians automatically being appointed by the Court.
Who should I appoint as Executors?
You should choose people you trust and who are likely to live longer than you. These can be friends or family member, but remember it is an important responsibility and can be time consuming, challenging and require complex decisions. Ideally, you should appoint people who have the time and the capability to carry out the required duties. It is sometimes wise to consider a professional and independent Executor, or Executors.
Can I make special provision for my disabled child in a Will?
Yes, this can be addressed and our lawyers will discuss the options available to you. They will help you choose the most appropriate way of ensuring your child is provided for after you have died. This could perhaps be by setting up a Disabled Person's Trust.
How much does a Will cost?
It depends! Straightforward Wills can be prepared on a fixed fee basis. Our lawyers are happy to discuss and agree costs with you for more complicated Wills.
For more pricing information click here.
Can I protect my assets against nursing home fees?
It depends on your personal circumstances and your assets– our lawyers will assess your specific circumstances and discuss the various options available. They will then be in a position to prepare Wills which enable you to effectively protect your assets and best interests.
- What should I consider including in my Will?
- What happens if I die without leaving a Will?
- Can the provisions of someone's Will be changed after they have died?
- Should I add a Codicil to my Will or make a new Will?
- What are some of the common misconceptions on Wills?