Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Will?
A Will is a legally valid document that you sign and have witnessed which declares what you wish to happen to your money, property, and possessions, your ‘estate’ when you die. The greater the value of your estate, for example your home may have increased in value significantly during your lifetime, the greater the need to seek advice on making the right Will to protect your assets, minimise Inheritance Tax and provide for your family on your death.
Who can make a Will?
A person who is 18 years old or over, who has capacity and is not subject to undue pressure can write a legally valid Will, subject to it being signed and witnessed correctly. A simple Will, however, may be legally valid but insufficient to maximise the inheritance you leave your family.
Can I stop my family having to pay so Much Inheritance Tax when I die by writing the right sort of Will?
Yes, there are ways in which this is possible:
- With bigger joint estates (over £650,00), the right will can ensure that you qualify for the extra £175,000 allowance per person available from this year onwards. Read more…
- The right sort of trust in your will can prevent future generations having to pay IHT on your assets a second or even a third time in the years to come. Read more…
Why do I need a Will?
Many people assume quite wrongly that all their property and money will automatically pass to their spouse, but the truth is that if you don’t make a will the law deems you to have ‘died intestate’. This can be distressing for your loved ones who may suffer financial hardship as a result, at a time when they least need it. This is why it is important to understand how to write a will and its importance.
Who inherits if I don’t make a Will?
If you don’t make a Will and die intestate you will have no control over who will inherit what you own. On an intestacy, who inherits what depends on which of your relatives is alive at your death and how large your estate is. Spouses may not receive everything, and charities, friends and unmarried partners will receive nothing.
Why do I need to update my will?
If you have your Will prepared and in place, then you’ve already taken care of one of the most important documents for you and your family. But how long ago did you prepare it and has there been any changes to your circumstances, finances, or relationships since then? Making a Will shouldn’t be seen as a one-off project. If yours was written more than three years ago, here are 5 good reasons to update your Will.
How often should I review my will?
If your Will is more than 3 years old, or there have been changes in your circumstances, finances, or relationships we suggest you review your Will. It is important to think about whether your current Will takes these events into account.
Do my partner and I need a Will if we are living as common-law partners?
Couples who live together have no inheritance rights no matter how long they have been together. Also, unlike married couples/civil partnerships, they cannot benefit from the transfer of an unused Inheritance Tax (IHT) allowance.
Can we really make Wills which stop our children having to pay care fees if we have to go into a home?
If you are a couple, the right Will can definitely stop at least half the value of your house having to be used for these purposes.
Can I really ensure that my children inherit from me even if I die and my spouse remarries?
To enable you to guarantee your share in the property for your chosen beneficiaries, you can in your Will set up a Trust involving your property which gives your share to, for example, your own children, but states that your partner may live in that property for life (or can move and the same will apply to the new property). Only when the property is finally sold do your beneficiaries get their share.
Do I really need to worry at my age about what will happen if I lose my mental capacity in the years to come?
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are as important as making a will. They allow you to decide which people you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you become ill or incapacitated in the future. Here are ten reasons why you should make Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) as part of your planning for the future, no matter what your age. Act today before it is too late.
Can I trust Willpower as non-solicitors to draw up effective Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney for me and my family?
Willpower has acted for over 12,000 clients since its inception in 1992. We are members of the Institute of Professional Will writers. We carry £2m of Professional Indemnity Insurance and a successful claim has never been made against it. Willpower’s dedicated and professional staff are experts in this area of the law.
What is Grant of Probate?
A Grant of Probate is a legal document that may be required to administer the estate of a person who has died. Once an executor or administrator has successfully applied for a grant of probate (or the letters of administration have been obtained if died intestate), they can then arrange the legal, tax and administrative duties involved in the administration of the estate. The probate and estate administration process can be bewildering and time-consuming for those who haven’t embarked on it before. Download our free Easy To Understand Guide to Probate & Administering Estates for more help.
What are Executors?
Executors are people you choose to carry out the instructions you have left in your will after you die. While you can name up to four people to act as ‘Executor’ of your estate, who you choose is up to you, as long as they’re aged 18 or over, with friends, family, colleagues or a professional person all being customary choices. It is common to appoint an impartial Executor who is familiar with the estate administration process even if your will is quite straightforward, as being an Executor can be a complicated role involving a great deal of work and responsibility.
What are Trustees?
Trustees will only be required and appointed if you specify that any part of your estate should go into Trust. Trustees are then responsible for the assets in that Trust on behalf of those named in the will (the Beneficiaries). All Trusts work in slightly different ways, but their main purpose is to protect certain assets, both property and financial, as well as the chosen beneficiaries. Depending on the type of Trust, the role of your chosen Trustee will differ. But they must act on the terms of the Trust, be impartial, and act in a fair and reasonable way to the beneficiaries.
What is the benefit of appointing a professional Executor in my Will?
An impartial Executor can ensure the Estate Administration process is completed as speedily as possible and the funds released to the beneficiaries without delay. They provide expert advice on the Trusts that are commonly found in Wills and on how to minimise Inheritance tax on the estate which is often miscalculated.