When and why you need to make a Will – Q&A with James Chittenden

Written by James Chittenden

Why do I need to make a Will?

To ensure control of your assets

If you die without a Will, then your estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. Those rules are strict. If you and your partner are unmarried, for example, the rules of intestacy would prevent the other from receiving an inheritance, even if you have lived together for many years. Making a Will gives you freedom over which of your family or friends inherit your estate.


A Will provides clarity as to who is to benefit from your estate, and who is to administer the process (your executors). Family conflicts can arise over the division of assets, but providing this level of certainty can significantly reduce the chance of conflict and ensure peace of mind.

Tax planning

Your estate may be entitled to inheritance tax allowances. Not only can making a Will ensure you make full use of these on death, but we can advise how best to prepare your assets now so your beneficiaries do not have that headache in the future.

Caring and providing for your children

A Will gives you the opportunity to nominate guardians for any children you have that are under the age of 18 when you die.

Funeral arrangements

When you die you may want to be buried or cremated, your ashes scattered, or any specific religious instructions. Any such wishes can be expressed in a Will.

Care home fees

We hope that we can hold onto as much of our assets as possible, often for the benefit of our children. But if you want to make sure that their inheritance does not get used up by care home fees, a carefully worded Will incorporating the right property trust can help protect your assets.

When should I make a Will?

1. Buying property

Buying a property can significantly increase the size of your estate. You may want to leave that property to specific people. You may also want someone to benefit from living in it after your death.

2. Starting a business

If you become a business owner or private company shareholder it is important to think about who you might want to benefit from your shares or interest in the business. The future success of the business may rely on who inherits your share. You may have other plans for the business when you die. Either way, now is the time to decide.

3. Getting married

Marriage or civil partnership automatically revokes any Will. Even if you did not have a Will before it is highly recommended that you make one when you do tie the knot.

How we can help

If now is the time for you to make or review your Will please contact Humphries Kirk at any one of our offices or online. I am a Solicitor in the Wareham team and would be pleased to assist you. James Chittenden 01305 252567 or email james.chittenden@khlaw.uk

Humphries Kirk LLP has offices in Parkstone, Poole, Southbourne, Wareham, Swanage, Cranborne Chase, Crewkerne and Dorchester.

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