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Blandy & Blandy Solicitors
Wills & Estate Planning

Wills & Estate Planning

Our experienced team of specialist Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts solicitors, based in Reading, Henley-on-Thames and Wokingham, can advise you in relation to making or updating a Will and estate planning, including on those areas below.

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The importance of making a Will

A Will is an important legal document which states how you wish your estate to be dealt with and distributed after your death.

What your Will should deal with

Making a Will enables you to:

  • Make provision for your wife, husband or partner, your family members and friends
  • Appoint guardians for your children
  • Establish trust funds to look after your children’s financial future
  • Provide for any specific wishes you may have regarding the bequest of certain items of property or sums of money to friends, relatives or charities
  • Plan the distribution of your estate advantageously for tax purposes
  • State your wishes regarding your funeral arrangements and
  • Appoint executors to administer your estate in accordance with the terms of your Will

You do not have to be wealthy to need a Will. Indeed some of the most complicated problems arise from the smallest of estates. However, your estate could be worth much more than you think.

The majority of Wills are fairly straightforward and it is therefore not expensive to have one professionally drafted. Even if a complicated Will costs you a little more you can be sure it is a good investment, which buys peace of mind for you and your family.

 

Can I make my own Will?

You can buy a “Will kit” and write out your own, but this can often prove to be a false economy. It may not save time or money in the end and may well cause serious complications for your family. Any mistakes you make, or important matters you leave out, will only be known after your death, which is, of course, too late.

Many of the mistakes are made when it comes to signing and witnessing the Will, which if done incorrectly invalidates the whole Will. Worse still, a badly drawn Will could result in your estate going to the wrong people, which could cause untold hardship or distress.

What happens if I don’t have a Will?

Strict rules have been laid down by Act of Parliament stating who inherits your property if you die without making a Will (known as dying “intestate”). This may well turn out to be unfair, illogical and not as you would have wished.

For example, a spouse may not automatically receive your whole of the estate. If your children or parents are still alive, your spouse will receive a proportion, with the remainder going to your children or even, in certain situations, your parents. This can have the most unfortunate and inconvenient consequences for everyone, often causing serious financial problems and family disputes.

Is my Will out of date?

There are certain circumstances which will automatically change your Will. Marriage will automatically revoke an existing Will and a divorce makes gifts to your ex-spouse and their appointment as your executor invalid. In these circumstances there may be unforeseen results and it would be much safer to make a new Will.

You may however simply wish to make an addition to the Will, or a deletion from it. Where the alteration is a minor one, you can add what is known as a “codicil”, rather than making a completely new Will. We will advise you on the most appropriate method of accommodating any changes.

In any event we recommend that you review your Will at least every five years.

Some of the most common reasons for wishing to revise your Will include:

  • If any of your named executors or beneficiaries have died, you may need to choose new ones
  • If you are cohabiting, you may wish to make specific provision for your partner who will not otherwise have the same rights concerning your Estate as a spouse. Inheritance Tax may be a particular concern as your partner will not benefit from the ‘spouse exemption’
  • If you have sold or otherwise disposed of items or assets specifically gifted in your Will, you may wish to ensure that the beneficiary still inherits something and
  • If your children have reached the age of majority since the date of your last Will, or if you now have grandchildren you wish to benefit

Who will carry out my wishes?

You can choose to have between one and four executors to ensure that the terms of your Will are carried out and that the whole of your estate is properly administered. You can appoint whoever you like as your executor, provided they are over 18 years old and are preferably living in the UK. It is advisable however, to ask the person beforehand if they would be prepared to act as your executor.

You can appoint a professional such as a solicitor to be your executor. You can then be assured that he/she is fully trained to take on the wide variety of technical and administrative problems that may arise. In practice, this in no way diminishes the involvement of your family and can in fact ease the burden on someone who, because of your death, may not be able to face dealing with a lot of paperwork straight away.

Please see further information on our team of Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts solicitors, in Reading, Henley-on-Thames and Wokingham, and our full range of services.

  • Why Choose Blandy & Blandy Solicitors?

  • LEADING REPUTATION

    We are widely acknowledged as one of the Thames Valley’s leading firms of solicitors advising on Wills and estate planning, tax & trusts, probate and estate administration, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) and Court of Protection matters, with conveniently located offices in Reading, Henley-on-Thames and Wokingham.

  • APPROACHABLE SERVICE

    Listening carefully to your needs and aims, we are committed to providing clear, practical and effective legal advice, a responsive and highly personal service and, crucially, value for money.

  • OUTSTANDING CLIENT CARE

    You can be reassured that in our recent annual survey, 98% of clients said that they would recommend our firm to others, while 99% rated their experience as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.

  • TOP RANKED FIRM

    We are one of only two firms in Reading and the only firm in Henley-on-Thames or Wokingham to be recognised as a top tier firm of private client solicitors in both of the UK’s leading guides to law firms, Chambers UK and The Legal 500, and in 2019 we were named 'Best Probate Law Firm - London/South East' at the UK Probate Research Awards.

  • A JOINED UP APPROACH

    You can rely on our specialist expertise in areas other than Wills, probate, tax & trusts, ranging family law to property, if needed.

Our Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts Solicitors

For expert legal advice call our Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts team
Reading 0118 951 6800 or Henley-on-Thames 01491 572 323 Wokingham 0118 951 6888

Graham Benwell

Graham Benwell

Consultant Solicitor, Wills, Probate Tax & Trusts

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Angela Bowman

Angela Bowman

Partner, Dispute Resolution - Will, Probate & Trust Disputes

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Caroline Casagranda

Caroline Casagranda

Partner, Wills, Probate Tax & Trusts

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Jonathan Gater

Jonathan Gater

Joint Managing Partner, Wills, Probate Tax & Trusts & Court of Protection

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Louise Nelson

Louise Nelson

Partner, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

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Elizabeth Short

Elizabeth Short

Partner, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

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Kelly Chandler

Kelly Chandler

Associate Solicitor, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

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Kirsti Harvey

Kirsti Harvey

Associate Solicitor, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

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Sophie Ashford

Sophie Ashford

Senior Solicitor, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

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Anne Call

Anne Call

Solicitor, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

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Katherine Dimmock

Katherine Dimmock

Solicitor, Wills, Probate Tax & Trusts

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Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith

Senior Solicitor, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

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Sophie Stone

Sophie Stone

Solicitor, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

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Sara Dalmazzo-Auckland

Sara Dalmazzo-Auckland

Senior Chartered Legal Executive, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

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Charlotte Smith

Charlotte Smith

Senior Chartered Legal Executive, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

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Anna Butler

Anna Butler

Senior Legal Assistant, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts & Court of Protection

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Rebecca Harley

Rebecca Harley

Legal Assistant, Wills, Probate Tax & Trusts

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Megan Hanrahan

Megan Hanrahan

Legal Assistant, Wills, Probate Tax & Trusts

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Aaron Khatter

Aaron Khatter

Legal Assistant, Wills, Probate Tax & Trusts

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Laura Quinn

Laura Quinn

Senior Legal Assistant, Wills, Probate Tax & Trusts

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Louise Ryan

Louise Ryan

Legal Assistant, Wills, Probate Tax & Trusts

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Emily Boorman

Emily Boorman

Trainee Solicitor

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Amber Pocock

Amber Pocock

Trainee Solicitor

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“For individuals and their families, the firm has one of the strongest private client teams in the south of England.”

Chambers HNW Guide

“Blandy & Blandy provides an excellent service at a fair cost and places its clients’ best interests as its first priority.”

The Legal 500

“Clients have complete confidence in them. They give a very personalised and bespoke service.”

Chambers HNW Guide

“Very experienced, with outstanding professionalism.”

The Legal 500

“A strong choice for clients requiring private client services.”

Chambers HNW Guide

“Excellent and dedicated private client team that puts the needs of their clients at the centre of their work.”

The Legal 500

“We worked with Blandy & Blandy to draw up new Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. In both cases, our solicitor was easy to talk to and clearly explained the options, including all of the questions we asked. The whole experience was very customer friendly from start to finish. I am very happy to recommend Blandy & Blandy.”

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