Too many of us don’t have a Will – in fact, only one out of three adults in the UK have one. 

“This may come as a shock to some,” shares Rachel Hyndman, partner of the award-winning Wills, trusts and probate team at Debenhams Ottaway based in St Albans, “but to those of us specialising in this legal service, it’s a sadly all too familiar reality.”

“The number of people without a Will in the UK is at an all-time high, with many often putting it off as something to be done in later life, others believing they don’t own enough assets to justify making one and many fearing it’s a challenging matter they’d rather not face.”

Great British Life: Rachel Hyndman, partner of the award-winning Wills, trusts and probate team at Debenhams Ottaway based in St AlbansRachel Hyndman, partner of the award-winning Wills, trusts and probate team at Debenhams Ottaway based in St Albans (Image: Debenhams Ottaway)

In her 15 years of assisting a variety of private and high net-worth clients, Rachel has discovered a friendly, relatable and flexible approach is what’s needed to help individuals realise how making a Will can be life-affirming and not at all morbid.

“When I open my door to clients, whether it be for the first time or welcoming them back as a familiar friend, my only goal is to help make their life easier,” she says. “I’m a person they can trust and rely on to be there throughout every stage of their family’s life.”

Below, she reveals what questions to ask to begin securing your future...

Q: Why should I make a Will?

Without one, you’ll have no control over what happens to your hard-earned money and possessions. For most, their family is the reason they’re motivated to work so hard, as people want to provide safety and comfort for them, which is why it’s vital to protect your assets.

If no Will is in place, you’ll have no say in who benefits from your assets and estate. Instead, they’ll be divided according to intestacy laws, which are rather outdated and often leave people out.

Also, if you can’t decide what you want to happen with your money – how can you expect the people you leave behind to know any better? Writing a Will is just as much for them as it is for you, to save them from any further distress as they attempt to cope with your loss.

Everybody has something, whether they’re young, old, a homeowner or renter, have lots of savings or little, worth protecting, which a Will can help you do.

Q: When should I update my Will?

A Will isn’t a one-time transaction - it’s something that should be brought out every year, to make sure it reflects your current circumstances. There are lots of life changes that could prompt a change to your Will to be made, including getting married, buying a home, getting divorced, or welcoming a new child into the family.

I’ve got many clients that I’ve worked with for years, and who I know incredibly well. When they come to update their Will, there’s no need for an in-depth review as we covered everything thoroughly in their first meeting. It’s usually an incredibly straightforward process and far more like catching up with an old friend.

Q: Why is a Will important for a blended family?

With stepchildren, second marriages and unmarried partners, a Will is a necessity, as it’s the only way to ensure no loved ones are left out when it comes to dividing up your estate fairly.  

If no Will is in place, a partner that you’ve lived with for many years, but may not have married for personal reasons, could be left with nothing or without the place you’ve called home, which no one wants for someone they love. Also, attempts to contest a Will were this to occur, can be exceedingly expensive, time-consuming and upsetting for all involved – which is why it’s best to avoid any issues altogether and make a Will now.

Great British Life: Those part of a blended family can benefit from making a Will to ensure no loved one is left out when it comes to passing on the estate and assetsThose part of a blended family can benefit from making a Will to ensure no loved one is left out when it comes to passing on the estate and assets (Image: Getty)

There are different Wills to accommodate any circumstances, including mirror Wills and Wills with trusts. Mirror Wills are usually made between partners, and are identical, save for obvious differences like the individual’s name. They’re often created this way as you don’t know who will pass first but want to ensure the surviving person can retain the assets you’ve accumulated. Trusts are a useful tool for helping to protect assets against things like the rising cost of care home fees.

Even in scenarios where there are more assets to consider, and complex family structures to account for, with the right legal advice, it’s simple to find solutions to ensure you can pass on what you want to.

Q: Why should I use a lawyer when making a Will?

Besides the peace of mind, the element of simplicity and assurance it can bring, and cost-effectiveness, speaking to a Wills and probate specialist can also prove invaluable for inheritance tax planning.

Few like the idea of losing a large part of what we own to the state, which is where being aware of liabilities, methods and products that could reduce this in the long term can make a big difference. It enables people to seek the financial advice they need now, as there are lots of things you can do throughout your lifetime that can impact inheritance tax.

Great British Life:

Q: Why choose Debenhams Ottaway’s Wills, trusts and probate team?

Having served clients for nearly 200 years, standing as the largest and most knowledgeable Wills, trusts and probate team in Hertfordshire and ranked top in the region for this kind of legal advice, clients can rest easy knowing they are in capable hands.

But foremost, clients see when coming to us, that we’re people too, with our own families and priorities. This means we’re able to understand what matters most to them, as it’s what matters most to us too.

We aim to create a future for you and your family with certainty and clarity by providing the highest quality legal advice and service. When individuals come to see us, we get to know everything about them, so we can provide bespoke solutions that meet their specific needs.  

We dedicate time to match clients with our solicitors so a bond of trust can be formed that will last for years to come, and we can help more families seek the security they deserve as their trusted adviser. After all, where there’s a Will, there’s a way.

For more information about writing or updating a Will, visit

Contact Rachel Hyndman at or call 01727 735648.