Q. What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document which sets out what is to happen to a person’s estate on their death. Your estate is the total value of all you own.
Q. Why is making a Will important?
It is a common misbelief that if you are married, your spouse will automatically inherit all of your estate. This is NOT necessarily true. If you do not have a legal Will then the law will decide what happens to your money and it may not be what you want. A Will allows you to appoint guardians for any children under the age of 18. If you co-own your property as tenants in common a Will can specify what happens to your share on your death. A Will enables you to leave a gift to charity or friends. Without making a Will, you can’t make these decisions. Without a Will the Estate Administration process can be complicated and time consuming
Q. Who can make a Will?
Anyone over the age of 18 years and who is of sound mind. What happens if you don’t make a Will? If you die without a Will you are said to die ‘intestate’. When you die intestate English law sets out rules as to who can deal with your estate and what is to happen to your property. Regardless of your wishes, your spouse or registered civil partner will not automatically inherit your estate; some of it may go to other relatives. There is no provision for unmarried partners; there is no automatic entitlement to any part of the estate even though you may have been co-habiting prior to death.
Q. What is an Executor?
An Executor is the person(s) you name to carry out your wishes when you die.
Q. Who can be my Executor?
Your Executor can be anyone over the age of 18 years. You can appoint a family member or a close friend. It is always best to appoint someone that you can trust and who you feel is up to the job. It is a good idea to speak to the person first to make sure that they are prepared to do it. You need a minimum of one person and a maximum of four. Alternatively, you could appoint a professional Executor such as Redstone Wills.
Q. Can an Executor be a beneficiary of my Will?
Yes, but they must not witness your Will.
Q. When does the drafting of my Will become legal?
A Will must be signed, dated and witnessed correctly to be legally valid. By using the Redstone Wills will writing service, we will send you the final version for signature together with Will signing instructions to ensure it is signed correctly. Making a Will valid is extremely important and we are happy for you to send your signed Wills back to us and we can check it has been signed correctly.
Q. Who can be my witnesses?
Anyone over the age of 18 who is not mentioned in the Will or related by blood or marriage to anyone named in the Will. Often next door neighbours or work colleagues are ideal.
Q. Do I need to appoint guardians?
If you have children under the age of 18, it is advisable to appoint a guardian. Your Will is the only place you can nominate a guardian so it is important to do so.
Q. What does “residue” mean?
You residue or residuary estate is the money left over once all debts, funeral expenses and tax have been paid.
Q. Where should I store my Will?
Legally you can store your Will anywhere you like. However, it is worth thinking carefully about where your Will is kept. When you die your Executor will need to access your Will as soon as possible – so he or she should know beforehand where it is being kept.
Redstone Wills offers a safe storage facility for an annual fee. Your Will will be stored in a fire proof cabinet and, upon death, your Executors can have access to your Will, upon sufficient proof of identity, within 48 hours.
Q. How can I amend my Will?
You can change your Will at any time, provided you have sufficient capacity to do so. You can prepare a new Will or sign a document called a codicil. A codicil can often prove cumbersome and often it is easier to simply write a new Will.
Q. Can I cancel my Will?
A Will is cancelled or revoked by any of the following:-
- If it is deliberately destroyed by you.
- A subsequent Will is prepared.
- Marriage as a general rule can revoke a Will.
- If there has been a divorce, English law treats a former spouse as having died before you and any gifts to the former spouse will fail.
- It is advisable to review your Will every few years to check it is still up to date and in accordance with your wishes.
Q. What do I do next to make a Will?
Contact Redstone Wills and a member of our Will Writing Team will be happy to guide you through the process of making a Will.
Use our online Enquiry Form
Telephone us on 0845 071 7115