Q: What Is A Will?

A: A will is a legal document for the person who creates it (known as the Testator). In it, the creator states what they want to be done with their personal affairs and estate after they have died. They also state who will be responsible for administering their wishes and what divisions they want applied to their estate. 

Q: Why Shouldn’t I Just Write My Will Myself?

A: There are many options to those who want to create a will themselves, but be cautious. These online or postal will services are often not legally enforceable or well checked, which could lead to a lot of trouble for those you leave behind. Instead, having a professional create your will ensures everything is above board and will be carried out to the letter.

Q: What Makes A Will Valid?

A: A will is only valid if:

  • The Testator was fully cognisant and had mental capacity at the time of writing and signing.
  • It is in writing (though not necessarily written by hand).
  • It is attested by the testator in the presence of two independent witnesses.
  • It is attested by the witnesses in the presence of the testator and of each other.

In some countries a will can be recorded on DVD to be played, but in England and Wales this is not the case.

Q: Who Can Make A Will?

A: Anyone over 18 years old who is of sound mind can (and should) make a will. Individuals on active service have special criteria for their wills.

Q: What Can I Say In My Will?

A: You are able to say almost anything you want within your will, though it is important to note that on your death it becomes public record, allowing anyone to read it.

Q: How Long Is My Will Valid For?

A: A Will is valid immediately it is signed correctly.  And, it lasts a lifetime. However, nothing in life stands still and various events can affect it including:

  • the Testator revokes it by making a new Will;
  • the Testator marries or forms a civil partnership;
  • it is destroyed by the Testator because he has changed his mind and does not wish the provisions in the Will to be carried out;
  • it is invalidated by a change in the Testator’s personal circumstances;
  • it is lost or unable to be located after the Testator’s death. etc. etc.

Most usually it needs reviewed due to, birth or death of any party to the Will, a house move, job change, marriage, inheritance, lottery win and so on.

Q: Can I Change My Will Later?

A: Yes, at any time. However, the same rules apply to changes as to new wills, so depending on the nature of your changes, it might be more cost effective to write a completely new one instead.

Q: Would I Ever Need To Write A New Will?

A: A will is only as good as it’s last review, so you may find that you need to change things to match your wishes as they evolve. In addition, you may need to write a new will if:

  • An executor or named beneficiary has died.
  • You have had a material change in personal circumstances.
  • You have divorced, re-married or entered into a civil partnership.
  • Changes in law and tax legislation make it necessary to change your will.

If you have any questions that haven’t been answered here, please just get in touch with us for your free, no obligation consultation.

Q:What is a Mirror Will?

A:  A Mirror Will is prepared for a couple who want to make almost identical Wills. It is composed of two Wills which typically mirror each other’s wishes by leaving everything to each and thereafter to their children. Where there are no children, it offers the opportunity to a name another beneficiary or charity.

Q:What happens if I die without a Will?

A: If your estate is worth more than £5,000, then your closest next of kin must apply to the Courts for the power to deal with your estate.  This is by ‘Letters of Administration’, and it can take many months to process due to proving regulations.  In some cases it takes years to sort out, which means that your family may suffer financially till it is sorted.

Note that when there is no Will; contrary to popular opinion, your estate will not necessarily pass to your spouse or partner after your death. The Government’s ‘Rules of Intestacy’ decide who gets what.  And it may not be what you wanted. Your spouse may not get what you thought she will get.

An unmarried partner is treated as a single person and is no relation to you.

Q:My bank is offering a Free Will Service with my account?

A: “Don’t come to me for a loan, and don’t go to your Bank for a Will!”

The bank is not offering you a FREE WILL because of its benevolence to you as a customer. Its terms tend to make sure that it gets Executorship of your estate, when it will re-coupe the ‘loss leader’ price on your death.  Several time over.  Fees in the range of 4-11% of the value of your estate are typical. And you will not get them to resign once they are installed.  So, you do the sums compared to the FREE WILL.