Frequently asked questions about will writing, lasting powers of attorney, family trusts and pre-paid funeral plans.

Do will writers only write wills?

Some will writers only provide a basic service, but at Brighton Wills we also prepare lasting power of attorney documents, probate forms, family trusts and protective property trusts.

Whether you need anything other than a simple will written depends on your circumstances and how much control you would like over your affairs. We can quickly help you understand what you need, and if it is just a will, no problem — you will be taking a responsible step forward and we will be delighted to help.

Why should I make a will?

Preparing a will lets you choose how to distribute your wealth when you die — provides valuable protection for your loved ones — and ensures they avoid lengthy, stressful administrative procedures.

If you die intestate (without a will in place), someone you barely know or dislike could claim your money and belongings.

Relatives can raise disputes over their claim to your estate, and this can result in arguments and disagreements at an already emotional time.

Children can lose their inheritance if your surviving spouse or partner chooses to remarry.

And assets could be frozen or even lost to the state, causing your family significant financial hardship.

However, making a will and including the correct provisions can ensure that your loved ones will receive the inheritance as you intended.

Should I review my will?

Absolutely. As children grow and relationships change, updating your will becomes essential.

It doesn’t matter if your will was written originally by a solicitor either. We can make the amendments you need in a legally compliant manner and significantly reduce your legal costs.

Won’t my surviving spouse automatically inherit everything I own?

Currently, if you die without a will, your spouse will receive your belongings, the first £250,000, and a lifetime interest in half of the balance of your estate. On your spouse’s death, the rest will go to your children (if you have any) or to other relatives.

However, you can choose who receives what, and under which conditions if you make the correct provisions in a will.

What happens if I make a will and then get married?

Unless the will has been made ‘in anticipation of marriage’ it will be invalid.

What happens if I’m living with someone but not married to them?

If you are not married or in a Civil Partnership, and jointly own your home, your live-in partner could encounter many problems if you die without leaving a will.

They could find themselves homeless at a time of great stress, and they may not be entitled to anything in your name, even if they made a financial contribution.

Is preparing a will expensive?

A simple will should only cost an individual around £150. However, the cost to your estate and your loved ones could be significant if you die intestate (without a will).

Probate is faster, and the legal costs are reduced significantly if you have made a will.

If you do not have a will in place, probate can take up to two years and involve a lengthy court process and many thousands of pounds in legal fees before your family can gain access to your estate.

I want to be buried in the local churchyard when I die. Should I put that in my will?

Yes, you can make provisions for a burial or cremation in your will. However, many wills are discovered after the funeral, so it is a good idea to make your wishes known to your family before you die.