Will Advisors & Will Writers in Bedford & St Neots
Thinking about writing a will for the first time, or are you in need of an update to your existing will if things have changed? Sit back in the comfort of your home and let us do all the work for you. Our reliable team really can help you protect your assets for future generations.
RWA are based in the Cambridgeshire market town of St Neots, near Bedford, and are proud to have over 25 years combined Will Writing and Estate Planning experience. We promise to provide you with honest, independent, ‘easy to understand’ advice on writing your will.
There are 3 types of will…
A Single Will
A Single Will is suitable for any one individual who wants to record their wishes upon their death. Single Wills don’t just have to be for single people or those who are divorced, you can be married or in a relationship and still write a Single Will if your partner has different wishes to yourself.
A Mirror Will
A Mirror Will is normally suitable for couples who have similar wishes. Two separate Wills are made, one for each person. The contents of the Wills ‘mirror’ each other in terms of where your assets might go and can allow for some different elements such as personal requests for funeral arrangements.
Specialist Trust Wills
A Trust within a Will creates a legal structure which can then be included as part of a Will to provide greater levels of asset protection. They can be used to protect your estate against future care fees, to ensure assets pass to your children if you start a new relationship, and ensure benefits pass to disabled or vulnerable persons. MORE BELOW >>>
These are just 3 examples of Specialist Trust Wills
1} Protective Property Trust Wills
A pair of ‘Protective Property Trust Wills’ offer the most common form of protection against losing assets to pay for possible future ‘Care Home Fees’ Quite simply instead of a spouse leaving their home to each other on the 1st death the first person to die’s share of the property goes into a ‘Property Trust’ the ultimate beneficiaries are normally the children. This protects the dead persons 50% of the home. The surviving spouse can remain living in the property or move in the future if required.
Bob & Ann’s Family Home
Time after time Bob & Ann Kept putting it off leaving their children’s future in the hands of fate!
Bob & Ann both aged 76 owned a 3 bed semi worth £220,000 which they wanted to leave their children. Bob & Ann thought they had planned well but some years after Bob died his wife developed dementia and eventually Ann was moved into care, her house was sold, and the money used to fund the nursing costs. Ann lived in the nursing home for 3½ years in which time over £200,000 of her money was spent funding her care, when Ann died only £14,320 was left.
Stories like this are common, the sad thing is Bob and Ann knew about the benefits of Protective Property Trust Wills but time after time kept putting off upgrading their old Wills. It would have been so easy for Bob & Ann to upgrade their Wills.
Bob & Ann (like most married couples) had made only basic Wills so that when Bob died, Ann was left everything in Bob’s Will including the family home. Because Ann ended her life in care all the money had to be used to pay her care home fees.
With ‘Protective Property Trust’ Will’s Bob & Ann would have legally protected 50% of the value of their house.
Cost of a Protective Property Trust Will: £250 the pair
2} Discretionary Trust Wills
David’s Spendthrift Son
David is 60 years old and has only months to live, David is divorced and has 3 children and one son Mark who is hopeless with money.
David is a successful business person and has acquired a substantial estate which he wants to use to help his son Mark, but he knows Mark will spend or waste his share of the money in a very short time. What can David do? David can set up a ‘Discretionary Trust Will’ The terms of the Trust create a Discretionary Trust so during the lifetime of Mark the trustees of David’s Will can control the funds ‘at their discretion’ which are given to Mark.
The Trust may be for a specific sum or the whole or part of the estate. After Mark’s death, any remaining funds can be passed to David’s other beneficiaries or charity’s. Control always remains with David’s trustees.
Cost of a Discretionary Trust Will: £175 each
3} The Right of Occupation Trust Will
It is estimated that only 1 in 3 people have a Will but increasingly in the modern family arrangement their importance is growing dramatically. Gone are the days when a husband and wife stayed married for life, had 2.4 children and relied on the Laws of Intestacy to pass their estate on to their loved ones.
It is now commonplace that a person may have had multiple marriages, children by different parents, or even choose to remain unmarried. In all these cases a Will is of paramount importance to direct where a deceased’s assets should be bequeathed. The Law of Intestacy seeks the last surviving blood relative and in absence of one passes the entirety of an estate to the Crown. Who would want this if they had a close friend, a cohabiting partner or a favourite charity?
One such area worthy of highlighting is the ability to give a loved one a right of occupation to remain in your property for their lifetime. To liken this to a real-life example, a testator may have had children by another during their lifetime and now having ended their relationship with the children’s parent has started a new relationship with another. In our experience, whilst a testator is always concerned with the needs of their new partner, ultimately their intentions are in most cases to provide for their offspring.
As a person’s most valuable asset is normally their home, this raises the question of what would happen to the property were the person to die. A right of occupation clause would be important in this case, as it would allow the testator to place their property in a life interest trust for the benefit of their children whilst allowing their current partner to remain in the property for their life. This would then serve to tick both boxes of the testator’s concerns:
(1) making sure offspring are provided for and
(2) making sure their new partner was not without a home.
The trust would be worded in such a way to protect the children, ending the arrangement if the deceased’s partner married or cohabited.
Cost of a Right of Occupation Trust Will: £175 each
Wills & Will Writing – Your Questions Answered
Q - Who gets what if I die with no will?
A – Many people think that their Estate will go to their spouse/civil partner when they die. This isn’t necessarily the case. For Example, an unmarried partner will be entitled to nothing, even a spouse may not receive the entire Estate and worryingly, may not receive enough to maintain their current lifestyle. For Example, if you are married or in a civil partnership with children and your spouse or partner dies you will only receive the 1st £250,000 plus chattels and half of the rest, your children will receive the rest.
Q - What happens where there is no Will?
A – The basic rules are the same but the people who will administer the estate are known as administrators (instead of Executors). They will apply for a Grant of Letters of administration (instead of a Grant of Probate) and the distribution of the estate will take place according to the rules of intestacy.
Q - Can an executor be a beneficiary in a Will?
A – Yes. Often the main beneficiary is one of the executors.
Q - Can children under 18 inherit?
A – Children cannot inherit until they reach the age of 18; below this age, the funds are held in Trust. If you think 18 is too young for your children to inherit a considerable sum of money, within a Will, you can specify that they do not receive the capital sum until a later age. They will, however, be entitled to receive any income from the trust fund as soon as they reach 18. Apart from this, the Trustees decide what income and/or capital can be used for the benefit of the children e.g. school fees.
Q - I’m divorced but what will happen with my existing will?
A – Getting divorced does not cancel a Will, but a gift to a divorced spouse lapses, unless a contrary intention appears in the Will.
Q - Can I make my own will?
A – Yes, you can. But there are significant risks in doing so, which you will not be around to sort out. It could mean substantial legal fees to put things right and quite apart from the upset and confusion it could cause those you leave behind. You should consider that a Will that is not clear under the law is open to challenge and your wishes may be overruled. A Will not made under the correct procedures can be rendered invalid, when making your own Will you may overlook some possibilities and unforeseen changes in circumstances.
Q - Do I need to nominate guardians in my will?
A – You do not have to, but a Will can be a convenient place to name a guardian. Without nominated Guardians, the courts will decide who will look after your children.
Q - Do married couples need two Wills?
A – Both of you need to make a Will. A pair of similar Wills are called ‘mirror Wills’. Getting married or remarried cancels a previous Will unless the Will expressly states otherwise.
Q - How do I sign my will?
A – Before signing your Will, you need 2 totally independent witnesses. There is no minimum age requirement, but obviously common sense must be applied, the witnesses may be called to give evidence after your death and should therefore be of a suitable age (18) and competent to give evidence. On the basis that it is better to be safe than sorry choose as your witnesses’ people who are not mentioned in the Will at all. There is no objection to a married couple acting as witnesses as long as neither receives a gift in the Will.
- You must sign the Will first.
- The 2 witnesses must watch you sign
- The witnesses must then sign the Will and watch each other sign and witness the Will, then they must put their names, addresses and occupations.
- The testator (You) must watch the witnesses sign.
- Don’t forget to date the Will. Day / Month & Year
You should keep the Will in a safe place, you should let the executors or one of the major beneficiaries under your Will know where it is kept. You should never attach anything to your Will by way of a paper clip, pin or otherwise or in any way leave any mark on it. Such marks can cause great difficulty when it comes to prove your Will in the probate registry. Do not ever store a will in a safety deposit box because probate is needed to open the box & probate cannot be granted without the Will.
Q - How much does a simple will cost?
A – At RWA a basic Single Standard Wills is priced at a fixed fee of £85. For all other types of wills and estate planning service simply get in touch and we will be happy to provide pricing and advice on the most cost-effective way of achieving your aims. Call us on 01480 290060 of get in touch via our Contact Page to arrange your Will.
But how can I protect my assets and make sure my intended beneficiaries end up with what I want?
Watch our video to learn how
We can help you to decide which type of Will is most suitable
Your consultation is arranged at your convenience in your home within the Bedford and St Neots area, and further afield in the UK we can arrange an initial consultation for you by telephone. Simply call us 01480 290060 or press the enquire button below to arrange a no obligation chat.