FAQs When Making A Will

Will Appointment faqs when making a will old couple

There are number of decisions you will need to make when preparing your Will.  During your appointment with us to prepare your Will, our legal team will discuss the various options available so that you can make the right decisions for your personal circumstances. Trainee Solicitor, Leah Pilling discusses FAQs when making a Will in her most recent blog…

What Is A Will?

A Will is an important legal document that lets you decide what happens to your money, property and personal possessions (your estate) after you have died. If you die without making a Will you are ‘intestate’, and your wishes for what happens to your estate may not be carried out. If you die intestate, then the law determines who inherits your estate.

A Will can also deal with other matters, such as appointing your executors and trustees and appointing guardians for your children under the age of 18. A Will can also help to save lots of money when it comes to inheritance tax if you are a client with a more valuable estate.

Do I Need A Will?

A Will is the only way you can ensure your wishes are carried out once you have died and so it is very important to make a Will if you are aged over 18. If you do not make a Will then the intestacy rules will apply on your death, and these govern the order of who will inherit from your estate.

How Do You Assess If I Have Capacity To Make A Will?

When you come to your first appointment with us, we will assess your capacity during the course of your initial meeting. This is often done quite subtly during the course of a normal conversation. We may also ask some questions that will aid us in assessing your capacity. Further, when taking your instructions we will take into account the capacity test, which is set out in the case of Banks v Goodfellow:

• Whether you understand the nature of making a Will and its effects.
• Whether you understand the extent of the property of which you are disposing.
• Whether you are able to comprehend and appreciate any claims that may be brought against your estate.
• You must also have no disorder of the mind that perverts your sense of right or prevents the exercise of your natural faculties in disposing of your property by Will.

It is important that you have capacity, as without it then your Will will not be valid. There are some occasions when we take Will instructions from a client when we feel it appropriate to also obtain a testamentary capacity assessment from a medical professional. This can take clients by surprise, but there are good reasons for requesting one – for example if your Will is likely to be challenged by a disappointed beneficiary.

Can An Executor Of My Will Also Be A Beneficiary?

Yes. It is very common and perfectly legal for an executor to also be named as a beneficiary in your Will. Many people often name their children (those over the age of 18) or their spouse as their executor, and these are commonly also their chosen beneficiaries.

Do I Need A Witness To Sign My Will?

There are a number of strict legal formalities that must be complied with in order for your Will to be valid, whether it has been produced by a legal professional, or even yourself. Something as simple as how your Will is signed is very important and if not signed correctly, this can impact the validity of the document.

The law states that for a Will to be valid it must be in writing, it must be signed and dated by you, and it must be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses over the age of 18. The witnesses must also sign your Will in your presence.

Once we have prepared your Will and you have approved of its contents, we will ask you to return to the office to sign your Will where we will act as your witnesses, to avoid the hassle of arranging to bring people to your appointment.

Where Should I Store My Will?

It is very important that your Will is kept in a safe and secure location. We can hold on to your Will once it has been executed, and we will store it in our secure storage room, free of charge.

Storing your Will with us ensures that your Will is kept safe, providing you with peace of mind.

Once your Will is ready for storage, we will provide you with a copy that you can keep at home.

It is important that your executors or family know where to find your Will when you have passed away, and so storing your Will with us will help them know exactly where to look.

When Should I Review My Will?

If there is any change to your circumstances, or the circumstances of your named beneficiaries, then it is prudent to review your Will.

We recommend that you review your Will every three years, just in case.

Do I Need To Change My Will If I Marry Or Enter Into A Civil Partnership?

Yes. When you marry, or enter into a civil partnership, any Will you have previously made will automatically be revoked (cancelled). If you have plans to marry, or enter into a civil partnership, in the near future when you are making your Will then we are able to draw up your Will in contemplation of this, so that the marriage or civil partnership does not have the effect of automatically revoking your Will.

Can Someone Make A Claim Against My Estate If I Have Not Provided For Them In My Will?

The Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows the Court to make reasonable financial provision for someone who was financially dependent on a deceased person and for whom no (or inadequate) provision was made in a Will.

How Can Timms Help?

If you have any questions about making your Will, or you would like to schedule an appointment to prepare your Will, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01332 364436 or via email at l.pilling@timms-law.com. Alternatively, for further information, you can visit the Wills and Probate page of our website here: Wills, Probate, LPA & Estate Planning


Leah Pilling

November 2023

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