Frequently Asked Will Questions
What is a Will?
A Will is a document which enables a person to give specific instructions for the disposal of his or her estate on death.
How long will it take to prepare my Will?
Once your instructions have been received, we aim to send your Will to you within 7 to 14 days. If you require your Will sooner than this, we will endeavour to send your Will to you the next day.
How much will it cost?
Please refer to our charges page.
Can my Will be changed?
Yes, of course, providing you are of sound mind.
Who should I choose as an executor?
Spouses / partners often choose to appoint each other in the first instance, but back up executors should also be considered. It is possible to appoint family members or friends even if they are mentioned as beneficiaries in your Will. Some people prefer to appoint a professional firm of Solicitors such as Flint Bishop. Please note that if you are leaving any part of your estate to children under the age of eighteen, at least two back up executors should be appointed.
Some of duties of an executor include:
- obtaining details of your assets and debts
- preparing probate papers and the HM Revenue and Customs account for inheritance tax
- arranging the sale of your home and the contents
- distributing your estate in accordance with your Will
Do I need to appoint a guardian?
If you have children under the age of eighteen, it is important to appoint guardians so that parental responsibility can pass to people of your choice when you are no longer here to care for your children yourself.
In cases where no Guardians are appointed, the court will decide who looks after your children.
Does marriage, civil partnership or divorce affect my Will?
If you get married or enter into a civil partnership after making a Will, the Will is automatically revoked unless the Will expressly states that it is made in contemplation of marriage/civil partnership. If you get divorced after making a Will, the Will remains valid but any gifts or appointment of your former spouse will fail.
Do the proceeds of a pension or life assurance policy form part of my estate?
If you have named a beneficiary in the policy documents then the proceeds will usually be paid directly to the beneficiary rather than falling into your estate. This may be beneficial for Inheritance Tax purposes and also means the monies may be released before Probate is issued. You are usually able to name your chosen beneficiaries by requesting a beneficiary nomination form from the policy provider.
What happens if I leave a legacy or gift to someone in my Will who dies before me?
Where a beneficiary predeceases you, their legacy or gift will usually fall back into your residuary estate unless you have made provision in the Will for another person to receive it.
Do I need to amend my Will if I am moving house?
You do not need to amend your Will simply to change your address. However, it is important that you inform us of any change of address in order for correspondence to be sent to the correct address.
If you have specifically gifted your home in your Will, you may wish to check with us whether your Will needs to be amended.
Where should I keep my Will?
How often should I review my Will?
You should review your Will at least every three to five years, or sooner if your personal circumstances change including the following:
- Changes to family members - If there has been an addition to, or a death in your family, you may need to update your Will.
- Separation - The effect is not the same as divorce, but you may still wish to revise your Will to reflect your change in circumstances.
- Financial changes - It is important to keep an eye on the value of your estate to stay one step ahead of any Inheritance Tax liability and to also ensure that your estate is sufficient to provide for any legacies you may have left.
- Property abroad - If you are lucky enough to own property abroad, it is essential that you make a Will in that country to ease the administration of your estate. Different countries have different laws and any existing Will you have may only take into account your UK assets.
What is Inheritance Tax?
Inheritance Tax is a tax charged on the value of assets transferred on death. The value of any gifts made during the previous seven years may also be taken into account. Inheritance Tax is not currently payable on the first £325,000.00 (2009-2010). This is known as the "nil rate band". However, Inheritance Tax is payable at 40% of any excess over £325,000.00. There is no Inheritance Tax payable on assets that pass to a spouse or civil partner.