Will writing Frequently Asked Questions
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
All you need to know about making a Will
A Will is a legal document that expresses what you want to happen after you die. This could be in relation to:
- Who you would want to administer your estate
- Who you would like to share your estate between
- Who you would want to be guardians for your children
- Appropriate Trust wording to protect your assets and beneficiaries
- What you would like to happen to your property and chattels
- Details about your funeral plans
And much mor depending on your specific circumstances.
You can make a Will if you are over 18 and you have the mental capacity to understand the content of your Will.
It is not a legal requirement to have a Will. If you wish to have a say about what happens in regards to your assets, and any minor children after your death then we strongly recommend that you make a Will.
If you do not make a Will then the laws of intestacy will determine what will happen to your assets. Unmarried partners and step children will not receive anything from your estate. Your children may be at risk of court battles, family disputes and even foster care.
What goes into your Will is determined by your individual circumstances and your priorities and objectives.You can see a list of 30+ things we consider when writing a Will for a client by clicking here
Anyone can make your Will. You might do it your self, use a template stationery pack, use on online Will service or a regulated law firm.
Although using a regulated law firm might be more expensive in the short term, the price difference is not considerable, and you get the benefit of using an insured and regulated firm. More reasons why you should consider using a regulated law firm can be found by clicking here
You can make a new Will or make a Codicil to go along side your existing Will. A codicil has to have special wording and be witnessed the same as a Will would. In most cases it is less risky to make a new Will.
If you make a new Will, or add a codicil, you must ensure that there is no doubt about your mental capacity, which could lead to the Will being successfully challenged.
Your Will can be challenged for a multitude of reasons. These might include that you lacked mental capacity, you were coerced into making the will, that you ignored those financially dependent on you, that the will wasn't signed properly and more.
The challenge might not come from a beneficiary, or potential beneficiary, but might come from a third party representing the beneficiary, such as a local authority or a law firm.
Using a regulated law firm to make your Will and professional executors to administer your estate can reduce the risk of your Will being successfully challenged.
There are many reasons a Will may be declared invalid. Here is a list of some of them:
- If the Will is not signed and dated in front of two witnesses.
- If a Will is tampered with or altered
- If the testator did not have mental capacity at the time the will is signed
- If the testator marries and the Will was not made in contemplation of marriage
- If a beneficiary or a relative of a beneficiary acts as a witness
- If the Will is not the latest Will made by the testator
- If the document is a photocopy of the original Will
- If the Will is not clear or unambiguous
An invalid Will is avoidable by using a regulated law firm. Ensuring the Will is valid can save hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of more after you pass.
No. A Will cannot be joint. A will expresses the requirements of an individual.
Mirror Wills are individual Wills with similar circumstances. It is important to note that each Will should represent the requirements of each testator, who should not be coerced by the other testator. Also, even if the Wills are written at the same time, each Will can be changed or replaced independent of the other Will. This could happen before or after the the other testator has died.
This can have serious implications, and you should discuss this with a professional to ensure your beneficiaries do not miss out.
Yes you can. It is important to note the charity number in your Will if you do so.
Donating to charity in your Will can be very tax efficient if you have an IHT liability, as if you donate at least 10% of your net estate, then IHT on the remainder of your estate is reduced from 40% to 36%.
Please feel free to contact us for more information.
Then you are treated as not having a Will. A copy of the Will is not sufficient. This is why we recommend that Wills are stored securely.
Goodwills are able to store your Will and provide an ongoing update service too.
Then it becomes harder for those left behind to deal with your estate. Your assets will be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy, and your children will be made wards of the court. They will decide who is best suited to look after them.
There is more chance of court battles, fights within the family, and ultimately more costs if you do not make a Will.
Marriage will invalidate a Will unless the will has a specific clause that it was made in contemplation of marriage. Divorce does not invalidate a will.
You can choose who to nominate as beneficiaries in your Will. You might have an obligation to make provisions for people who are financially dependent on you. If you do not, or you plan to exclude some of your children over others, it is useful to include an exclusion clause so that it outlines your reasons for excluding them, or providing a reduced provision.
Doing this can make the Will less likely to be successfully challenged. It is best to discuss the circumstances with a professional law firm like Goodwills at the time that you make your Will.
Being an executor in a Will has a lot of responsibility, and the executor takes on the financial liability should they make a mistake. It is therefore important to use someone who has financial and administrative competenence, and a good understanding of tax and the law.
An executor also has the power to use legal instruments and implement unused allowances to ensure that any assets are transferred with the most protection and the minimum of taxation. In many cases it is best to use a professional executor rather than a relative for maximum effect at an acceptable cost. More information can be found by clicking here
You can put your share of a property into trust on your death so that it is not used in any calculations for your surviving spouses care home fees. It is important that any trust is set up properly, both when the Will is made and after the death of the testator.
Goodwills are very experienced at dealing with this, and many other scenarios in regards to protecting your assets.
Yes your Will can. There are many ways you can reduce potential inheritance tax for your estate and future generations.
A consultation with Goodwills can help ensure that your Will is made tax efficient to ensure as much of your estate passes to your beneficiaries when you pass.
You can appoint guardians and reserve guardians in your Will. You can appoint more than one guardian or reserve guardian too.
If you are the mother, and the father is unmarried, or you are divorced, you can put reasons in the Will as to why or why not they should be considered as a guardian, and whether they should act on their own, or jointly with someone else.
A trust will be created on death for any assets they are due to receive so that they inherit at age 18 unless specified otherwise.
Trust wording can be put in your Will so that the trustees can pay money out before the age of 18 in the right circumstances, or hold the money back until a later age when they are more responsible.
Yes you can put funeral instructions in your Will, including any funeral plan details, details of the service and whether you would like to be buried or cremated. You might want to let people know your funeral wishes and funeral plan details as well, as the Will might not be read until after your funeral.
Trusts and clauses can be put into the will to protect your assets after your death. Lifetime trusts can be used to protect assets before your death.
Please contact us for further information.
Goodwills local will writing services: Your questions answered.
If you have any questions about making your Will (and you probably have lots of them), we will be happy to answer them for you. We have a detailed FAQ below, or if your question isn’t listed, please feel free to call, email or use live chat.
It is important that your Will is made correctly and that it has the correct clauses worded correctly for your personal circumstances. It is also important that your will is not ambiguous, as this can cause the probate process to be severely delayed or even stall.
Make sure that all your questions are fully answered before you make your Will – as it is not worth the risk of getting it wrong. Goodwills will be happy to answer your questions and make your Will for you for a competitive price if you so wish.
Goodwills Wilts and Glos price check
Goodwills Wilts and Glos single Will from £125 which is 16% cheaper than a Co-operative Legal Services Single Will from £150*
Goodwills Wilts and Glos Mirror Will from £200 which is 14% cheaper than Co-operative Legal Services Mirror Wills from £234*
* Prices correct as of 12th March 2019. All prices include VAT as applicable. Further information about what is included in our standard prices can be found by clicking here.