Making a Will Solicitors

The creation of a will is a straightforward process but one that does require a great deal of thought. Wills can be changed and modified as time goes on so do not feel pressured that the decisions you make in your initial document cannot be altered. The purpose of a will is to outline your wishes once you have passed away. This ranges from who in your life will be the recipient of any wealth, assets or possessions you have, possible wishes for end of life care regarding life sustaining treatment, care home facilities or medication to any funeral plans you wish to be adhered to.

Without a will, the rules of intestacy will apply, which means that only a partner identified through marriage or civil partnership, as well as a very restricted few other close relatives can inherit anything you may leave behind. In-laws, friends and unmarried partners have absolutely no right to any inheritance if no will is drawn up.

At Stephens & Son, our will writing specialists have years of experience drafting and updating will documents on behalf of individuals across Kent and beyond. Our friendly and approachable team of solicitors understand that thinking about the future and what you want to happen after you are gone can be difficult. Whether you have solid plans about how you want your estate to be distributed or you need some gentle advice about your options, we are here to provide as much support as you need.

We aim to provide a warm, welcoming environment where you can discuss your wishes and concerns in comfort. You will also have a personal lawyer assigned to you to give you continuity of service throughout your time with us.

Set up an initial fixed cost appointment with our will solicitors in Chatham

To arrange an initial fixed cost appointment with our will solicitors, please give us a call at our offices in Chatham or fill in our simple online enquiry form for a quick response.

Stephen & Son Solicitors is incorporated by Hatten Wyatt, meaning you can also access our will writing expertise through local offices in Maidstone, Gravesend, Tenterden and Tonbridge.

We can also offer meetings by Skype for clients who cannot attend our offices or now live abroad. In exceptional circumstances, we can also arrange visits to your home, hospital bed or care facility.

Our will solicitors’ expertise

Our wills, trusts and probate solicitors can:

  • draft a will to your exact requirements;
  • prepare a will at short notice, including at your hospital bed or over the telephone if you are abroad or suddenly become unwell;
  • apply to the Court of Protection for a statutory will on behalf of a relative who is unable to make a will in the normal way;
  • ensure the legal formalities needed to create a valid will are complied with;
  • take extra steps to ensure that everything is done properly where you have been diagnosed with deteriorating mental health;
  • prepare a letter of wishes to accompany your will to deal with matters like funeral arrangements and to explain any decisions that may come as a surprise to your family;
  • advise you on the best way to structure your affairs for tax planning to ensure you pay no more inheritance tax than necessary;
  • put in place arrangements for the protection of vulnerable beneficiaries, for example by setting up a trust; and
  • create a deed of variation to change the terms of a will or the rules of intestacy to make provision for other relatives or to save tax.

We can also assist with other matters to help you put your legal affairs in order, including the creation of a lasting power of attorney to enable you to appoint someone of your choosing to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so yourself through deterioration of mental or physical health.

Making a will FAQs

Why do I need to make a will?

Making a will is the only way you can ensure that your final wishes will be respected and followed after you die. These wishes can cover a vast range of matters, including:

  • Who your money, property and possessions (collectively called your ‘estate’) will be passed down to
  • Who will look after your children if you and their other parent die before they turn 18 years old
  • To set aside money for children and vulnerable loved ones to pay for things like education and care
  • To set up trusts to control how your money and property is handled, to provide income to loved ones, or to make your estate more tax efficient
  • To set out your funeral wishes – although these will not be legally binding, putting them in your will makes it more likely that your wishes will be discovered and followed
  • To avoid legal disputes – when family and inheritance is involved, disputes can get nasty. The courts have seen many cases where the estate was financially drained by family members fighting over their deceased loved one’s wishes. By leaving a will that clearly sets out your wishes, there is less scope for your relatives to challenge the estate

Making a will is also the best way to reduce or avoid inheritance tax, which has the potential to eat up to 40% of your estate above your tax-free threshold. If you own property or other significant assets, it is likely you will be caught by inheritance tax unless you carefully structure your estate to minimise its impact.

What happens if you die without making a will?

Your estate will be distributed under the Rules of Intestacy. These Rules are strict and only allow a narrow group of people to inherit, such as spouses, civil partners or very close relatives. They do not allow you to leave money to an unmarried partner, step-children, or to charity. The distribution of your estate under the Rules is also unlikely to be tax-efficient.

Therefore, to ensure your loved ones get the most out of your estate, it is essential to leave a will.

What is the right age to make a will?

There is no ‘right’ age. Many people choose to wait until they are retired to make a will, however, this could be a risky decision. No one can predict where life will take us so it is better to be prepared and take steps to protect your loved ones, particularly if you own property, have children, or have a partner who is not your spouse or civil partner.

Do I need a solicitor to make a will?

Technically, a solicitor is not legally required to make a will. However, there are important legal requirements that you must comply with for the will to be considered valid. A solicitor can outline all your options and help you find the best way to structure your estate, for example, for tax purposes. They will also ensure that the will is validly executed, reducing the risk of it being challenged by family members after you die.

Advising families throughout Kent and beyond

We have offices in Chatham, Maidstone, Gravesend, Tenterden and Tonbridge where we can meet you to discuss your requirements.

We can also offer meetings at your home, in hospital or in a care facility, and in exceptional circumstances a telephone appointment can be arranged via skype.

Fixed fees and costs

An initial 30 minute appointment to discuss your requirements can be arranged at £114 inc VAT and an initial 1 hour appointment can be arranged at £180 inc VAT.

After that we can arrange flexible payment terms, including monthly billing to help you budget.

Get in touch

To arrange an initial fixed cost appointment with our will solicitors, please give us a call or fill in our simple online enquiry form for a quick response.

Stephen & Son Solicitors is incorporated by Hatten Wyatt, meaning you can also access our will writing expertise through local offices in Maidstone, Gravesend, Tenterden and Tonbridge.

We can also offer meetings by Skype for clients who cannot attend our offices or now live abroad. In exceptional circumstances, we can also arrange visits to your home, hospital bed or care facility.

For further information please Contact Us or call to speak to one of our experts on 01634 811444.