Why leave a gift in your Will?

There are two main reasons I think why leaving a gift in your Will is a great idea.

Firstly, statistics show that people generally have a giving nature, with over 74% of the UK population supporting charities during their lifetime. However, on death the reality is only 7% of us are actually leaving gifts in our Wills.
Without charitable gifts a lot of these charities that we know and support today wouldn’t be in existence.

Secondly, the government changed the tax laws regarding gifts left in a Will.
Currently if your total estate is worth £325,000 or more then your estate will pay 40% inheritance tax on everything over the £325,000. However, if you leave at least 10% of your estate to charities the tax rate will be reduced to 36%.
This can make quite a difference in the tax bill your estate pays – rather than giving this money to the tax man a charity could benefit.

As a mother I, of course, want my children to be financially secure, especially with the struggles young adults have getting on the property ladder and now having to pay for university fees.
And when I add up my estate (as we are all worth far more dead than alive) I am sure they won’t miss a few thousand pounds, or even a small percentage of my estate.

I am not saying this because I am a multi-millionaire! Far from it. But I would like a little something to go to the charities that I support.

If we all left something in our Wills for charity, as well as our loved ones, we could make a massive difference, and you don’t have to be a multi-millionaire to make a difference.

We could all do something wonderful and remember our favourite charity in our Wills.

Court of Appeal rules mixed-up mirror wills are invalid – Has your Will been signed correctly?

The England & Wales Court of Appeal has confirmed that mirror wills executed by an elderly couple are void because each spouse accidentally signed the other’s will.

A decision in the case of Marley v Rawlings was made reluctantly because the couple Mr and Mrs Rawlings had clearly intended the Wills to take effect. Both Wills gave on first death their estate’s to the other spouse then on second death everything was to pass to their adopted son Mr Marley.

The wills were prepared by the couple’s solicitor and executed in his presence in 1999. But neither the solicitor nor the other witness (his secretary) noticed that the wrong wills had been signed.

Mrs Rawlings died in 2003, but it appears the mistake was not noticed then, probably because all the couple’s property was held jointly and so passed by survivorship without the need for probate. However, it was noticed on Mr. Rawlings’ death in 2006. The couple’s two natural sons pointed out that the wills were on the face of it improperly executed, and that therefore they had died intestate. This has led to the two Rawlings sons inheriting the part of the estate governed by the intestacy laws, amounting to £70,000.

Has your Will been signed and witnessed correctly?

Single Parent Will Month – January 2012

The Guardian reported in August 2011 that there are 69 million Single Parents in Britain, caring for three million children.

But what happens if the parent dies – who will look after these children? Where does the other parent come in if applicable (Rayden Solicitors have a guide here)? Throughout the whole of January Abbotts Wills and Probate Services will complete a for a single parent for £50 (plus VAT) at a meeting held at our offices in Hertford. This consultation will be full of advice and guidance as well as a legally binding Will at the end which will cater for all of your needs especially appointing guardians for your children.

If you wish to take advantage of this promotion please call the office to arrange an appointment at our office at Conbar House, Mead Lane, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG13 7AP on 0845 313 3353 or email We will tell you everything you need to bring along.

What happens if someone doesn’t have the capacity to make a Will?

To write a Will the individual (testator) must be over 18 years of age, have the required capacity and comply with the execution formalities as laid out in the Wills Act 1837.

However, if the testator lacks capacity and their GP can state that the individual definitely doesn’t have capacity an application can be made to the Court of Protection for a Statutory Will can be drawn up.

The process and forms to be completed are far more complex than just a “normal” Will hence the cost of these are more expensive. But as we all know if you die with a valid Will in place the administration of the deceased’s estate is far easier.

If a medical practitioner confirms that an individual lacks testamentary capacity, the individual’s wishes can still be safeguarded by applying to the Court of Protection for permission to make a Statutory Will.

Other reasons for making a Statutory Will maybe to mitigate inheritance tax or simply to avoid the individual dying intestate.

Contact us for more information.

Where Is Your Will?

Writing your will is not the end of the process, though many people seem to think it is. Your will needs to be stored somewhere safe and secure until it is needed. More importantly, however, your will needs to be stored somewhere that is also known about to those who will need it after you have gone.

At Abbotts Wills and Probate Services we can store your Wills and other important documents for as little as £35 plus VAT. If we are storing your Wills for this money you are also entitled to 4 changes per year. We write to your executors letting them know that we have the Wills and other important documentation. We also guarantee to keep you informed of any office relocation etc.

The best way to be sure that everything has been thought about properly and fully carried out is to think the process through from beginning to end. Your will is needed so that those you leave behind, family members and friends, can receive your worldly possessions in the way that you want them to after you die.

Writing your will is the first vital step, but the next step is equally vital: your will has to be stored where it is safe and where it can be found. This is the step that so many only half do. They store it somewhere safe and secure, but no one knows where that is because they tell no one. Then when they die there’s a mad scramble by relatives to find the will – your will!

This is not how it should be. You family and friends are grieving their loss. It is simply not the best time to have to search for a will, but if they don’t, the state will declare that you have died intestate. That means that they will say that you left no will. When that happens the state will assess the situation and distribute all your assets in the best way they see fit.

Imagine if your will turns up some time later, sometime after the state has decided who gets what. It is highly likely that the way the state distributed your belongings will not have been the way that you wanted them distributed. How do you think your family and friends will feel? And all because you stored your will somewhere safe and sound, but you didn’t bother to tell anyone where it was.

The executor of your will needs to know where your will is stored. Main beneficiaries should also know where your will is stored, in fact, telling all of your close family where your will is being kept is probably a good idea. It really is that important.

  • Will Writing Services

    A will is one of the most important legal documents you will ever produce, and is the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out and your estate is divided in the way that you choose.

  • Probate Services

    Probate is a legal process that occurs once an individual has died, where your Executors/Personal Representatives handle your estate, including taxes, debts and distributions of inheritance.

  • Estate Planning

    Sometimes your circumstances may require additional clauses in your will to protect your assets against remarriage or bankruptcy or divorce of a beneficiary or to assist in mitigating inheritance tax.

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