Our Guides & FAQs
Our guides and FAQs cut through the jargon and provide simple answers to complex legal questions. If you need to talk to someone, our team are always on hand to offer advice and support.
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Helpful Wills Guides
Business owners, whether that be Private Limited Companies, sole traders or partners, need to give careful consideration as to how their share in the business passes when they die. .
For many pet owners, their pets are regarded as their closest companion.
Most people at one stage in their life make a will and often couples do this together.
When creating a will, it must be prepared in the prescribed format and executed by the testator i.
This relief, called the Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB), is an extra amount that can pass on death without any Inheritance Tax (IHT) being payable. .
Disputes & Litigation, Probate, Wills
Creating and keeping a will up-to-date may not be on the top of people’s priorities but having an effective will in place is a crucial step towards securing the future for your loved ones. .
Frequently Asked Questions
A will is a legal document which provides a person’s instructions as to how their estate is to be distributed after their death. It may also set out your preferences in respect of the care of any minor children living at your death. Failure to prepare a will shall leave decisions about your estate out of your hands – certain rules dictate how your estate shall be allocated. A will is the best way to protect your dependents.
If you die without a will, the law of intestacy dictates who inherits your estate. Read more about the intestacy rules here.
You can leave the majority of property owned by you in your will. There are exceptions and here are some examples of property you can’t or may not be able to leave in your will: –
- property owned as beneficial joint tenants
- your pension
- insurance policies or other assets held in trust
- anything you do not own outright (assets subject hire purchase agreements)
- property left to you for the duration of your lifetime only
- some company shares
- anything illegal
Yes. Your wishes are not legally binding but including them in your will does provide guidance to your executors. It is important to ensure your loved ones know of your funeral wishes as family members may make funeral arrangements before the contents of your will is known.
If you have minor children, you should consider appointing a guardian in your will. A guardian will take parental responsibility for a minor child, in the event all those with parental responsibility have died.
A guardian should be someone who does not already have parental responsibility for the minor. It is for you to decide who you should appoint as guardian of your minor children, however you should take care to ensure the person you appoint is able to fulfill their responsibilities and make decisions that are in the minor’s best interests in a variety of matters such as health, education, diet, hobbies, and religion etc.
An executor is appointed in a will and is responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will. They will collect in the assets of the estate, pay off debts and liabilities, and distribute the estate to the nominated beneficiaries.
Yes, we can assist you with your will via a telephone appointment. Call 0800 9878156 and ask to speak with one of our will writing solicitors.
It is a common misconception that your estate will go to the government if you die without a will. Although it may be possible that your estate passes to the Crown, if you were to die without a will, the law of intestacy dictates who inherits your estate. Read more about the intestacy rules here.
Yes, a will does much more than gift property. You are likely to own assets on your death which may require obtaining a grant of representation, and creating a will allows you to:-
- avoid uncertainty
- appoint an executor of your choosing (this would make applying for a grant a lot easier)
- appoint a guardian for your minor children
- make specific bequests and / or charitable bequests
- set out your funeral wishes
Unmarried partners and partners who have not registered a civil partnership cannot inherit from each other unless there is a will, so the death of one partner may create serious financial problems for the remaining partner.
There are a number of reasons why you should instruct a solicitor to prepare your will. It is easy for simple mistakes to be made which can have profound consequences. There is a rise in challenges to wills. A will can be challenged in a number of ways so it is important to receive the advice necessary to prevent a challenge succeeding. Further, it may be possible to reduce the amount of inheritance tax if the will is prepared in a certain way.
Mental capacity can be defined a person’s ability to make decisions for themselves. It is important to note that someone can lack capacity to make some decisions (for example, complex financial issues) but still have the capacity to make other decisions (for example, what they wish to eat). To make a will someone will need to understand: –
- what making or changing a will means
- how much money they have or what property they own
- how making or changing a will might affect the people they know.
If they are unable to do any of the above then they may not be able to write their own will. It is still possible for someone to apply to the Court of Protection if they want to make a will on behalf of someone who cannot do it themselves.
Yes, our partners at Kew Law regularly act as professional executors.
You should keep your will in a safe-place. If you keep it under ‘lock and key’ then you need to ensure someone knows it is there and has the means to access it if you were to die. There are a number of registers, including HMCTS, who will store your will for you for a fee. Many of our client opt to store their will with us. We do not charge a fee.
Yes, there a number of ways a will can be challenged. Arguments may be presented that the will is invalid due to:- it being executed incorrectly; the person making it lacking capacity at the time of executing the will; undue influence; lack of knowledge or approval; revocation; fraud; and, forfeiture. To limit the risk of any such challenges proceeding you should instruct a solicitor to prepare your will.
Certain qualifying persons may also be able to make a claim against your estate if you did not make reasonable financial provision for them to take effect upon your death.
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