If you have any questions, please expand the ‘FAQs’ banner below to find the most commonly asked questions, or alternatively, please complete the ‘contact us’ form below.
- Who Can make a Will?
Every adult can and should make a Will. You must be at least 18 in England & Wales or at least 12 in Scotland. You must also be of sound mind and must understand what you are giving away, how you are giving it away and who you are giving it to. If you have ever suffered from a mental disorder or if an illness may be affecting your judgement, always consult a doctor before making a Will.
- What Happens if I die without a Will?
If you die without a Will or your Will is invalid, you die Intestate. The management of your Estate which is your usually your house and all assets (minus your debts), is then done by administrators appointed by the courts. Generally, your Estate will go to your Spouse, or if you don’t have one, your Children . If you don’t have any Children, then it would go to other blood relatives which can all be found on our Rules of Intestacy Brochure. If you don’t have any blood relatives, then your Estate will pass to the Crown.
- How long is a Will valid for?
A Will is valid until it is revoked. This can happen in a number of ways. Firstly by destroying the Will with the intent of revoking it. The Will must be physically destroyed, as if only a proportion of the Will is destroyed, only that part of the Will is revoked. Secondly, a Will is revoked by making a new Will and in it, stating that your are revoking all previous Wills and Codicils. Lastly, your Will is revoked if you get married unless you made the Will with the forthcoming marriage in mind. If your Will does mention the forthcoming marriage, your Will must name the specific person you intend to marry, and it must state that you intend the Will to be valid during this marriage.
- What should I include in my Will?
The Will should include who will inherit your Property and Assets, and anyone you wish to exclude from the Will. Most importantly, you must name someone to carry out your wishes and Guardians for any children if they don’t have another parent. You also use your Will to say whether you would like to be buried or Cremated.
- I have already made a Will, Can I just change that?
No, Once a Will has been written and signed, you cannot change it. If you want to change anything, you need to write a new Will.
- How do I change a Will?
You cannot ammend an existing Will. If you wish to make changes to your Will, you must make a new Will and either destroy your previous Will or state in your new Will that you revoke all previous Wills.
- Will I automatically inherit my partners estate when they die?
No, so you should both make a Will immediately. If your partner dies intestate, the Estate will be distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy, so if you are not married but cohabiting, you may not be entitled to anything.
- My spouse has already made a Will, should I make a Will as well?
Yes, both you and your spouse should make a Will, even if most of the assets are in one of your names. Making a Will allows you to name your spouse as the beneficiary and where your assets would go if your spouse predeceases you. If you are unmarried, it is even more important that you both get a Will, as there is no automatic entitlement that your partner will receive any of your assets if you haven’t made a Will.
- My partner and I are cohabiting and are unmarried, should we make a Will including each other?
Yes, assuming you want your partner to inherit from you. It is very important for unmarried couples who are cohabiting to make Wills as without them the surving partner may receive nothing when the estate is distributed.
- My husband will not make a Will, what would I be entitled to if he died?
If you don’t have any children, you will be entitled to the first £450,000. If you have children you will be entitled to the first £250,000. After that it gets complicated. To ensure you protect yourself and your property correctly, it is vital that both yourself and your husband make a Will.
- I am getting married, should I wait until we are wed before making the Will?
No, you should make a Will immediately, however you should mention in the Will that you are intending to marry and specifically name the person you are to marry in your Will.
- I have got divorced, do I need to change my Will?
Yes, getting divorced does not automatically revoke or change your Will. Both you and your ex-husband/wife will need to make a new Will.
- What types of gifts can I leave in my Will?
You can leave Pecurniary gifts, which are gifts of money, Specific gifts which could be Jewelery, furniture, vehicles etc or Residuary gifts, which is the gift of the remainder of your estate.
- Can the gifts in my Will fail?
Yes, if you have sold the gift or the beneficiary has predeceased you, the gift Will fail and will then fall back into the residuary of your Will unless you have made substitute provisons in you Will.
- Can I exclude anyone from my Will?
Yes, you can exclude anyone from your Will but it is good practice to state the reasons why you have excluded them in an Memorandum of Wishes.
- What is a ‘residuary estate’?
After your specific gifts of Money or Assets have been distributed, the remainder of your Estate is known as the Residuary Estate.
- What are Executors?
Executors are people you name in your Will to look after the administration of your estate after you die.
- Can I appoint my husband or wife to be an Executor and Beneficiary of my Will?
Yes, your spouse can be an Executor and Beneficiary of your Will, however they cannot witness your Will.
- Can an Executor be a beneficiary of my Will?
Yes, you can have up to four Executors and they can each be a Beneficiary. A Beneficiary of your Will however, cannot witness it.
- Can my Executor witness my Will?
An Executor or Professional Adviser is allowed to witness the Will unless they are stated as a Beneficiary in the Will, in which case a different witness must be found.
- How many witnesses do I need for my Will?
In England & Wales you need two people over the age of 18 to witness a Will, but in Scotland you only need one person over the age of 16. Just remember your spouse or any Beneficiary cannot witness your Will.
- Who can be Witnesses to my Will?
You need two witnesses for your Will who are over the age of 18, preferably not very old and easy to trace. It is vital that your witnesses are neither Beneficiaries to your Will nior the Spouse of beneficiaries to your Will. If a Beneficiary or spouse to a Beneficiary does witness your Will, that beneficiary will lose their entitlement to that gift but the Will remains valid.
- Do witnesses need to know the content of the Will?
No, Witnesses do not need to know the contents of a Will.
- What is a Trust?
A trust is brought into existance when a person transfers some of their assets to Trustees to look after until they can be distributed to the Beneficiaries.
- What are Trustees?
Trustees are usually the same people as your Executors, but they are the persons/organisation that you appoint to look after the assets in trust for your Beneficiaries.
- How are Trusts in Wills affected by tax and inheritance tax?
Inheritance tax is the main tax that affects Wills and it is triggered by death. When the Testator dies, their Executor or Trustee will have to complete a personal tax return from the start of the tax year to the date of the Testators death. Each year the Executor will have to submit a Trust & Estate Tax Return to HM Revenue & Customs, up until all the assets have been distributed.
- What is the current Inheritance Tax Nil-Rate Band Threshold?
The current Nil-Rate Band Threshold is £325,000.
- Can a couple convert to tenants in common, and as a result, leave their half of the property to someone other than their spouse (i.e. their children)?
Yes, you can do this by completing a deed of severance form which can be downloaded from our website. Once this has been done, then you can leave your half of the property to whoever you want.
- What is Probate?
Probate is the process that gives the people carrying out your Will the right to deal with your assets and property.
- I have a property abroad, is this covered in my UK Will?
Your UK Will may not cover your property abroad depending on which country it is in. We recommend that you seek international legal advice for the country your property is in.
- Where do I keep my Will?
Your Will must be kept safe, so it is advisable to keep it in a Waterproof and Fireproof safe. If you don’t have one of these, AdviserWill offers a Will storage service where all Wills are kept in a Waterproof & Fireproof safe in a secure location. We then provide two Will Storage Certificates for you to keep in safe locations so when the time comes, your family and friends know where the Will can be found. At £25 per annum, this gives you peace of mind.
- How will my family find my Will if I die?
When you have made a Will, it is advisable for you to tell your Executors and close family members where you have stored it. If you are planning to use the AdviserWill Storage Facility, you will be provided with certificates to show that we are storing it for you, one of which you could pass on to your Executors.
- How do I revoke my previous Will?
You can revoke your Will in a number of ways. Firstly by destroying the Will with the intent of revoking it. The Will must be physically destroyed, as if only a proportion of the Will is destroyed, only that part of the Will is revoked. Secondly, a Will is revoked by making a new Will and in it, stating that your are revoking all previous Wills and Codicils. Lastly, your Will is revoked if you get married unless you made the Will with the forthcoming marriage in mind. If your Will does mention the forthcoming marriage, your Will must name the specific person you intend to marry, and it must state that you intend the Will to be valid during this marriage.
- Who Can make a Will?
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AdviserWill Ltd, 6 Ashcombe Road, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, BS23 3DY