Wills, Probate and Trusts FAQs

Writing a will may seem like a daunting task. However, in reality it doesn’t need to be.

Going through the process with a qualified wills and probate solicitor means you can ask all the questions you want, but here are some of the most commonly asked questions to get you started:

What happens if you don’t have a will

If you do not have a valid will in place then the rules of intestacy will dictate your estate’s outcomes.

In short, these rules state that only married or civil partners, and a small selection of close relatives, can inherit.

The objective nature of these rules often does not reflect how different individuals choose to place value on different relationships. This can result in relationships fracturing between loved ones if they disagree with the legal ruling.

Of course, no one would wish this to happen, especially during a time of grief. It’s important to have a will in place in order to make sure that the most important people in your life receive the inheritance you wish for them, regardless of the type of relation they are to you legally.

Can anyone make a will?

Anyone over the age of 18 can make a will in the UK.

However, there are some exceptions to this, most notably if you are a member of the Armed Forces. Armed Forces members can make legal wills under the age of 18.

But for the majority it is anyone over 18.

What should you include in a will?

Your wills and probate solicitor should guide you through the process and everything you should consider when drafting your will.

However, in general, the following should be included:

  • Who you wish to appoint as your executor
  • The appointment of guardians if you have children
  • Funeral wishes
  • Monetary gifts
  • Specific gifts
  • Plans for your residuary estate
  • Provisions for pets, if relevant

It is also advisable to add substitute provisions for executors in case the people you have chosen are unable to fulfil the duty, and to prevent your will falling into partial intestacy.

Can you make a will without a solicitor?

It is by all means possible to make a will without the input of a wills and probate solicitor.

However, the majority of individuals choose to seek the expertise of a wills and probate solicitor for peace of mind, especially when dealing with the complex legal and financial processes will writing involves.

Through doing this, the chances of your document being challenged down the line are significantly lessened, and you can ensure everything is accounted for correctly in line with legal requirements.

What is inheritance tax?

Inheritance tax is a tax that comes out of your estate if it is worth over £325,000. It is paid for with funds from the estate and is usually dealt with by the executors who you have chosen.

There are some exemptions and reliefs available.

When should a will be updated?

It is recommended that you update your will roughly every five years, regardless if any big changes have occurred in your life or not.

Of course, if anything major has changed in your life you should update your will as soon as possible. Here are some examples of instances where it is advisable to update your will straight away:

  • You get married or form a civil partnership after you have created a single will, as this automatically revokes any will you have created.
  • You go through divorce or annulment. When this happens your ex-partner will legally be completely wiped out of your wishes. If you have particular wishes that this law does not recognise you would certainly need to update your will.
  • The value of your estate changes materially.
  • You have children.
  • An individual who you have appointed in your will to fulfil a duty can no longer follow it through.

Looking for a specialist in wills?

Head of Wills, Probate and Trusts at Winn Solicitors, Rebecca Harbron Gray, explains the importance of using an effective will writing service, saying:

“Many people avoid writing a will and making plans for death for many years because they think it is a morbid or depressing process. But the truth is that, once complete, people get a sense of comfort and relief from knowing they have done all they can to protect and care for their nearest and dearest.

“At Winn Solicitors, our team has decades of experience in this specialist field of law and we know how to make it simple and stress-free – no matter how complex your estate or family situation.”

With a dedicated team of legal specialists in wills, Winn Solicitors can help you create a will that offers complete peace of mind and security for your family, no matter what the future holds.

If you’re looking for legal advice from a specialist wills and probate solicitor, and an expert will writing service, get in touch with Winn Solicitors today.