01925 937070 
The Intestacy Rules apply in situations where there is no Will. The rules are very complex and will dictate who will inherit the estate and how much they will inherit. Unfortunately, by not having a Will you risk your estate being distributed in a way that does not accord with your wishes. 
Many married couples or civil partners assume that if they die their spouse/civil partner will inherit their entire estate, however this may not always be the case. Your spouse/civil partner will inherit some of your estate under the Intestacy Rules (the statutory legacy) but may not, depending on the size of the estate, inherit all of it. 
The situation is worse with couples who are not married or who are not civil partners, as they may not inherit anything at all. Cohabitees or ‘common law spouses’ have no automatic right to inherit their deceased partner’s estate and unless there are children the entire estate will be distributed amongst other relatives in a particular order. 
You may already have a Will, but it should be reviewed every 3 – 5 years as divorce, marriage or other major life events can revoke or have the effect of altering the Will. 
How much does a Will cost? 
Our fees for a basic single Will are £180.00 plus VAT. 
Fees for mirror Wills (i.e. Wills where the terms are identical) are £235.00 + VAT. 
Will a basic Will be suitable? 
In some cases, for example, if spouses are leaving their entire estate to each other and then the children equally, a basic Will may be suitable. However, if there is a second marriage and perhaps step-children we would not recommend a basic Will. In such cases care must be taken to protect the interests of your children from a previous relationship, as if you predecease your spouse or civil partner, your children could lose their inheritance. 
You may also wish to consider additional matters, such as appointing a guardian for your children if they are under 18 years old. In that case you will also need two trustees (who can be the same people as the executors). 
You may wish to leave money or items to certain persons, or you may wish to express your funeral wishes in your Will. 
Whatever your wishes, we can tailor your Will to suit your circumstances and will be able to advise on the exact costs once we know what your requirements and preferences are. 
What about Inheritance Tax? (IHT) 
There are tax allowances for married couples/civil partners which will not apply to cohabitees or common law couples. If care is not taken to minimise IHT then the entire estate could be subject to Inheritance Tax of 40%. 
Can my Will be drafted to minimise the risk of Care Home Fees? 
There are ways in which the risk of having to sell your home to pay for care home fees can be minimised but, although these type of Wills are heavily promoted by some, there are risks involved (as well as extra costs involved). In addition, a Local Authority can ignore such arrangements if they are seen as a deprivation of assets. 
There are options you can take to minimise the risk or extent of the local authority’s claims, but you should take advice so that you are fully aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each option. 
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) 
Making a Will is one aspect of protecting you and your family after your death, however it is vitally important when making a Will to consider making an LPA at the same time in order to ensure that you and your family are not exposed to the risk of unnecessary expense, delay and inconvenience, not to mention upset and distress should you become unable to manage your affairs. 
More and more of us are living into our 80’s and beyond and it is not possible to know whether we will always have the mental capacity or the ability to manage our own affairs in the future. 
Dementia is a very real concern for many people and strikes indiscriminately and without warning. The danger with LPA’s is that you may leave it too late. You must have mental capacity at the time of entering into an LPA otherwise it will not be valid. 
With a Lasting Power of Attorney, you can appoint someone you trust – e.g. a trusted relative - to look after your financial affairs if you become incapable of doing so. This person is called an Attorney and they must always act in your best interests. You can appoint more than one Attorney if you wish, for example your children. 
There are two types of LPA’s. One is for financial and property affairs and the other is health and welfare. They can be taken out independently of each other, but it is best if you want both to do them at the same time. We offer a discount for both LPA’s taken out at the same time. 
Our fees are £350.00 + VAT for one LPA and £600.00 plus VAT for both. There is also a registration fee for the Office of the Public Guardian of £80.00 per LPA. This is a one-off payment. 
You can, of course, revoke your LPA in the future should you wish to do so, provided you still have mental capacity. 
We always recommend that you keep the original LPA yourself in a safe place and obtain a certified copy for your Attorney(s). We can provide copies at a cost of £35.00 each. 
Contact me to discuss making a Will or an LPA 
Email me at diane@dsmlegal.co.uk with your telephone number and the best time to call you, or telephone us on 01925 937070


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