Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to my pets when I am gone?

Your pets could outlive you! Make a provision for your treasured family pets when make your Will. You can appoint carers for them and even set aside a legacy payment to provide for thier needs.

Where do I store my Will?

A Will is only valid if it is in and writing and signed. It must be the original document as copies are not acceptable. Make sure your Will is securely stored and that your executors know where it is, as you will not be here to tell them where to find your Will.

Will Management Services can store your Will securely for you. We charge an annual fee of £20 per Will per annum. This then entitles you to unlimited free updates to your Will.

Why do I need a Will?

The vast majority of people put off making a Will for a variety of reasons, either believing that the people they would wish to inherit will automatically do so, or because they don't think it is relavant to them at this particular time.

The reality is that you can put off making a Will until it is too late and this poses all sorts of problems for the people left behind and could mean that some or all of your inheritance either goes to the wrong person or to the state.

What happens if I don't make a Will?

This is called dying intestate. There are specific rules of intestacy which set out who will inherit and by how much if you do not leave a valid Will, this may not be what you would have wished and in the worst case senarios where relatives cannot be traced, your assets will be taken by the Crown.

What is a letter of wishes?

A Letter of Wishes, also know as an expression of wishes, is a letter written by you and kept with your Will, or given to your executors or trustees for safe keeping. In it, you can explain why you have chosen to distribute your estate in the way you have. A Will can become a public document if probate is needed on your estate, whereas a Letter of Wishes is written as a private document.

How do I know if I'm joint tenants or tenants in common?

There are a couple of ways to check this. If the ownership of your property is not registered at the Land Registry then you will need to inspect the Title Deeds to the property to see how you own it.

Alternatively, if the ownership of the property is registered at the Land Registry, they will have a record of how it is owned.

Can I change the way I own a property?

Yes, that is possible, for example, you may own a property as Joint Tenants but you want to leave your share of the property to someone other than the joint owner. In that case, you change the way you own the property to Tenants in Common. We can assist you with this.

Can I put my funeral wishes in my Will?

You can specify your funeral wishes in your Will, however Wills often aren't discovered until after the funeral. Even if your Will is discovered before then, your loved ones aren't legally obliged to follow your wishes. 

What is a specific gift?

Specific gifts are gifts of specific items, like an item of jewellery or your golf clubs

What is a pecuniary gift?

Percuniary gifts are gifts of a certain amount of money to a certain beneficiary

What is my estate?

You'll need to consider what assets (items of value) you own, including those owned in your sole name and those owned in joint names. This might include property, bank accounts, stocks and shares, vehicles, foriegn assets and anything else of value such as jewellery. You should also consider what debts and liabilities you have such as a mortgage or outstanding loan. This will help you to calculate the net value of your estate.

Does my partner inherit everything automatically?

If you haven't made a Will and live in England or Wales and have an estate worth less than £270,000, the surviving husband, wife or civil partner will inherit all of the estate. Complications arise when you are not married, have an estate in excess of £270,000, or have children from a previous relationship.

The myth of the common law husband or wife. Lots of people refer to thier long term partner as my common law husband or wife. Unfortunately this counts for nothing when you die! Without a valid Will, unmarried partners cannot inherit anything from each other.

Do I need probate?

Assets and Debts - Stage one

You must establish what assets the deceased had i.e. savings, shares, house insurance policies, jewellery etc. You must also find out if they have any debts at the date of thier death such as mortgages, utility bills, credit cards etc. To find the assets and debts you must go through the deceased's paperwork to find out the information. The next stage is to find out what the value of the debts and assets were when the deceased died.

The second stage is to apply for a Grant of Probate.

Some banks/providers will require a Grant of Probate before distributing the assets to the Executors. Each bank/provider has their own set limit on what they will release without the Grant of Probate. This means that the Grant of Probate is not always required.

What is Probate?

Probate is basically a Court sealed certificate that enables the Executor to close or transfer assets. It is granted by the Probate Registry which is part of the court system.

What if I do not want to be an Executor?

There are several routes you can go down.

The first one being filling out a form allowing someone else to act as Executor on your behalf. This is called a special Power of Attorney.

If you do not want someone else to act for you and you have not already carried out any Executor duties, then you can renounce.

The final option and a common one is to have what is termed "Power Reserved". This means that you will not act as an Executor, and you want to leave it to other Executors. A common situation is where children are appointed as Executors, and they agree that just one of them will apply for the Grant of Probate. The Executors not applying can apply in the future if they want, through a separate application.

Can I name a beneficiary as an Executor?

Yes, you are allowed to name a beneficiary as an executor. However, you are not allowed to ask a beneficiary to witness your Will.