Wills

 

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Wills - Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long will my Will be valid for?
2. Can my children inherit?
3. Can't I just write my own Will myself?
4. Can an executor be a beneficiary?
5. Do I need a solicitor to act as executor?
6. Do I need to nominate guardians in my will?
7. Will I have to pay Inheritance Tax?
8. What if I die without making a Will?
9. Do married couples need two Wills?
10. Who should make a Will?
11. Is there anything I can't leave in my Will?
12. In what countries will my Will be valid?
13. What if somebody I leave a gift to in my Will dies?
14. What if I want to leave people out of my Will?
15. Can my estate be taken away from my spouse to pay Care Costs?

1. How long will my Will be valid?
Once you have written your Will, signed it, and had it witnessed, it is valid until revoked. There are 3 ways to revoke your Will :-
Destroy all copies of it.
Marrying or re-marrying automatically revokes a previous Will unless that Will expressly states that it is made in contemplation of forthcoming marriage.
Make a new Will which revokes your old Will. Every Will prepared at tenminutewill.co.uk contains a clause to revoke all Wills you have previously made.
If any of the following occur, you should make a new Will :-
Changes in the Family. If there is an addition to or a death in your family, you may want to consider revising your Will.
If you get married. Marrying or re-marrying automatically revokes a Will prepared at tenminutewill.co.uk. The safest thing to do if you get married is to make a new Will.
If you get divorced. Getting divorced does not revoke a Will but all clauses naming your former spouse will cease to be valid and if he or she is named as an Executor then upon divorce he or she is not allowed to act or obtain probate of your Will. The safest thing to do if you get divorced is to make a new Will.
Separation. If you separate from your spouse, the effect is not the same as divorce but you may still want to revise your Will to take account of your changed circumstances.
Changes in your Financial Circumstances. If your financial circumstances change for the better, you may want to add new beneficiaries or bring the gifts or sums of money more up to date. Conversely, if your financial circumstances have taken a turn for the worse your estate may not be sufficient enough to provide for all the gifts you have left.
Changes in taxation. If your estate is large enough to attract Inheritance tax, new taxes, tax reliefs, or new rates then you may need to think about revising it.
Going to live abroad. You should normally make a Will in the country where you live to simplify the administration of your estate. Different countries have different laws - for example any Will written at tenminutewill.co.uk is only valid for UK assets.
But the above circumstances are less of an issue than you might think:- Once you have made a Will at tenminutewill.co.uk its details are stored with us forever, so you can effectively make a new Will at any time simply by making a few changes. You are allowed to make 2 such changes free of charge, or an unlimited number of changes if you refer just one person to us.
 
2. Can my children inherit?
Children cannot inherit until they reach the age of 18; below this age, the funds are held in Trust. If you think 18 is too young for your children to inherit a large sum of money, within a Will, you can specify that they not receive the capital sum until a later age. They will, however, be entitled to receive any income from the trust fund as soon as they reach 18. Apart from this, the Trustees decide what income and/or capital can be used for the benefit of the children e.g. school fees.
 
3. Can't I just write my own Will myself? 
Yes, you can. But there are significant risks in doing so - which you will not be around to sort out. It could mean substantial legal fees to put things right - quite apart from the upset and confusion it could cause those you leave behind. You should consider:
A Will that is not clear under the law is open to challenge and your wishes may be overruled.
A Will not made under the correct procedures can be rendered invalid.
When making your own Will you may overlook some possibilities and unforeseen changes in circumstances.
 
4. Can an executor be a beneficiary? 
Yes. Often the main beneficiary is one of the executors and indeed we advise this.
 
5. Do I need a solicitor to act as executor?  
No. A clause in every Will writen at tenminutewill.co.uk authorises your appointed executors to hire a solicitor (whose fee is paid out of your estate and not by them!) if they think they need one to help with the administration of your estate.
 
6. Do I need to nominate guardians in my will?  
You do not have to, but a Will can be a convenient place to name a guardian. Without nominated guardians, the courts will decide who will look after your children.
 
7. Will I have to pay Inheritance Tax? 
The first £285,000 of your estate will pass free of IHT, this is known as the Nil Rate Band personal tax allowance. The remainder will be taxed at 40%.
 
8. What if I die without making a Will?  

Many people think that their Estate will go to their partner when they die. This is rarely the case. For Example, if you are living with but not married to your partner, they will receive nothing if you die without making a Will.

Even if you are married to your partner, he or she may not receive the entire Estate and worryingly, may not receive enough to maintain their current lifestyle.

When you die intestate (i.e. without having made a Will) then your loved ones may not even get to control the administration of your estate - the management of your estate is instead placed in the hands of administrators appointed by a court.

 
9. Do married couples need two Wills? 
If you are married, both you and your spouse should each make a Will.
 
10. Who should make a Will? 

Every adult can and should make a Will. Minors (under 18) cannot make a Will.

The only qualifications necessary are that you are of legal age (18) and of sound mind. If you have a history of mental illness or you are suffering from an illness which may affect your judgement in any way, you should consult a qualified doctor just before preparing your Will.

 
11. Is there anything I can't leave in my Will? 

Firstly, you cannot leave anything in your Will which you do not fully own. So, for example, if you jointly own a property under a joint tenancy with somebody then upon your death your share automatically goes to the surviving co-owner(s). However, if you own the property under a tenancy in common (which means you each own a specified share) then you can give your share of the property to whoever you wish - i.e. you can leave it in your Will. Our advice is that you consult the solicitor who did the conveyancing to find out which type of joint ownership you have.

If you have a life insurance policy, it will generally be expressed to be for the benefit of a named person and will therefore not pass into your estate when you die. So you do not need to mention it in your Will.

Your pension rights may similarly pass outside your Will in the same way - your employer or pension provider should have more details.

 
12. In what countries will my Will be valid?
A will made at tenminutewill.co.uk will be valid for immovable assets (i.e. property) in England and Wales only and movable assets (e.g. bank accounts) in most other countries.
 
13. What if somebody I leave a gift to in my Will dies?

If somebody you have left a specific gift (item or money) to fails to survive you by 30 clear days, then that gift goes back into your estate as if it had not been bequeathed. Any beneficiary of your Will who dies before they receive their legacy but more than 30 days after you do will receive their legacy posthumously and the legacy (money or gift) will form part of their estate.

If somebody you have left all or a portion of your Residual Estate to fails to survive you by 30 clear days, then their share is either divided among the other beneficiaries of your Residual Estate so that those remaining receive their shares in the same proportion to each other as before or (if there are no co-beneficiaries) it passes to any substitute Residual Beneficiaries you have nominated. For more details, see the Help available in Step 5 when you compose your Will.

 
14. What if I want to leave people out of my Will?
If you intend to exclude any of the following from your Will:-
your spouse or an ex-spouse who has never remarried
a partner (if you have been living together for more than 2 years)
a child or stepchild of yours, or any other financial dependant
 
then you should be aware that under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 they can legally contest the Will if they are excluded or under-provided for and you are advised to write a separate letter to be kept with your Will explaining your reasons for excluding them. This letter can then be read out in court if the Will needs to be 'defended' and (if your reasons are valid) will decrease the contestor's chances of winning.
 
15. Can my estate be taken away from my spouse to pay Care Costs?

The short answer is "yes it can". If your spouse has to go into Local Authority Care then the authorities can take all but the last £20,000 of his/her assets to pay for that care.

However, you can 'shelter' some or all of your Estate from this by either making a 'Discretionary Trust with Life Interest in Residue' Will (in this case your spouse does not own any of your estate and therefore the authorities can't touch it) or by leaving your share in the marital home to your spouse as a 'right to live' gift (again, your spouse will not own your share in the house and therefore the authorities can't touch it).

 

 

Wills 24-7 does not give advice or recommendation on your Will or Enduring Power Of Attorney needs and wants. We are not responsible for the appropriateness of the product that you might choose or the level of cover chosen

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