FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions 

Below are just some of the questions our Estate Planning Consultants are asked. If you have a question that is not covered, please contact our Customer Service Team who will be more than happy to help.

 

What will happen if I don’t make a Will?

The Rules of Intestacy mean that, in a way, everyone has a Will even if they haven’t physically made one.  If you don’t make a Will, your assets will be distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy. Relying on this law rather than creating a Will has disadvantages. The law decides who benefits from your estate, not you, and it doesn’t always reflect modern personal and family situations.

Click here to download our flow chart to see who will inherit from your estate if you die intestate.

Who can make a Will?

Anyone over the age of 18 can make a Will. In special circumstances, such as being drafted in the Armed Forces, those aged below 18 can make Wills with other providers.

I am not wealthy, do I need a Will?

Yes. Anyone who owns property in their name such as a bank account, car, house, furniture or sentimental property etc. should have a Will, otherwise the Rules of Intestacy will apply to that estate.

Click here to download our flow chart to see who will inherit from your estate if you die intestate.

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. For example, if there are additions to your family, or deaths in your family, or financial changes that affect your Inheritance Tax liability.

Does marriage, civil partnership or divorce affect my Will?

If you marry 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 the marriage or civil partnership. If you get divorced after making a Will, the Will remains valid but any gifts to, or appointment of, your former spouse will fail.

Where should I keep my Will?

There is no legal requirement determining where a Will should be stored but you should inform your executors where it is. We provide a secure Will storage service at minimal cost. It is not advisable to keep a Will in a safety deposit box because after your death your executors may not be able to open that box without obtaining a Court Order.

What is a mirror Will?

A Mirror Will is prepared when a couple want to make almost identical Wills, for example leaving everything to each other respectively and thereafter to their children or, where there are no children, to a named beneficiary. They must be individual Wills. In effect, they are separate legal documents with similar content.

What is intestacy?

When someone dies without a Will, they are said to have died intestate. In cases like this, the Rules of Intestacy apply to determine the administration and beneficiaries of the estate.

Please click here to download our flow chart to see who will inherit from your estate if you die intestate.

What is an executor?

Executors are appointed by a testator in a Will. They are responsible for dealing with the testator’s estate in accordance with his or her instructions. They will collect in assets, pay all debts including any Inheritance Tax, deal with any specific legacies and then distribute the remainder of the estate in accordance with the testator’s wishes.

How many executors can I choose?

You can have as many executors as you like, but the law only allows a maximum of four to act at the same time.

Can an executor be a beneficiary?

Yes, provided the Will contains the appropriate wording. However, beneficiaries, or the spouses of beneficiaries, must not witness the signing of the Will, as gifts to witnesses, their spouses or civil partners will not be allowed to stand.

What is a living Will?

A living Will provides the opportunity to document your wishes with respect to end of life medical treatment in a form that is accepted by both the British Medical Association and Royal College of Nurses.

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)?

An EPA is a legal document in which, prior to 2007, you give the legal right to one or more people, your attorneys, to manage your financial affairs and property. EPAs must be registered to be used if the donor is losing or has lost mental capacity. As of 2007, it is no longer possible to creat new EPAs in England and Wales as they have been replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). Existing EPAs are still valid. Click here to find out more or click here to download our guide.

Who can make a trust?

Any person who fully understands the scope and nature of their assets and actions, and who is mentally capable of making such decisions is able to set up a trust. Pursuant to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, there is a presumption that a client has capacity unless there is evidence to the contrary.

If I have a trust, do I still need to make a Will and LPA?

Yes. Anything you put into a trust will be distributed in accordance with your wishes, and the Will distributes anything you own when you die that you haven’t put into a trust. An LPA document enables your attorneys to manage assets you didn’t put into a trust while you are alive, if you are unable to deal with them yourself following accident, injury or illness, or for example if you are overseas. LPA’s are highly recommended as part of your wider estate planning. Click here to find out more or download our Guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney.

If my house is in a family trust, and I wish to sell and purchase another, what happens?

If you wish to move home after placing your house into a family trust you can do so. The trustees would sign the paperwork and any surplus cash is still protected by the trust and will simply be added to any other savings and invested by your trustees. A normal conveyancing fee would apply.

What if some of the savings within your family trust are needed?

Simply ask the trustees for a discretionary transfer of funds from the trust back into your name if and when this is required. If you have an existing project in mind, funds for this should be set aside outside of the trust.

How does The Will Writing Company work?

At The Will Writing Company, we offer a personalised, bespoke and holistic service, concentrating on face-to-face meetings with clients either in the offices of our building society partners, our client’s homes or places of work.

Do I need a Will if I have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

An LPA is a completely separate document to the Will. A Will has no legal effect during your lifetime. An LPA has no legal effect after your death.

You can download our guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney here.

Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Everyone who owns assets should consider having a Lasting Power of Attorney. Homeowners are especially vulnerable should a co-owner become incapacitated. Each owner must have capacity to be able to sign documentation in relation to for example, the sale of a house or re-mortgaging. Like an insurance policy; it is better to have one and not need it than the other way around.

For more information on Lasting Powers of Attorney visit the dedicated page here, or download our guide.

 

Have another question?

If you have a different question that is not listed above, please contact our team of advisers today.

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