Frequently Asked Questions

60% of the UK adult population do not have a valid will. This means 2 out 3 people will have no control over how their assets are distributed. Writing a will is one of the most important things you can do to protect your family’s future. Most people put it off until later life, however it is inevitable that some people may die before they ever get the chance to make one.

If you have kids

If you have children under 18, it is extremely important to write a will as it allows you to state who you want to be their legal guardian

If you own a property

Writing a will allows you to set out how you want to divide up your estate, including any property or accounts you own. This will prevent any family disputes when you’re gone.

Families across the country lose on average of around £10,000 when their loved one dies without a will. This is usually made up of assets they can’t find or don’t know exist.

To find out what happens if you die without a will click here 

It entirely depends on your individual circumstances. Your Will Matters helps you choose the right option for you.  Over 70% of our customers use our online will writing service as it allows you to draft your will from the comfort of your own home. You can appoint guardians for your children, choose your executors, make an inventory of your assets, and set out how you want to divide up your estate. It also gives you the option of leaving gifts and funeral wishes for your loved ones.

If you think you may require specific advice on a complex situation – such as high-value assets, Inheritance tax planning or trust structures then call us on 0330 912 5252, we will gather some basic information about your estate and one of our Solicitors will talk through everything one step at a time, in order to draw up a will that perfectly reflects your wishes.

If you’re unsure exactly which option is right for you, give us a call on 0330 912 5252

Trust Will

will trust – also known as a testamentary trust – is created within your will to allow you to protect property you hope to pass on to your family. Trusts are legal entities that allow someone to benefit from an asset without being the legal owner.

Property Trust Will

Creating a property protection trust (sometimes called an asset protection trust) through your will allows someone to benefit from your estate after you have died as if he or she owned the assets, without actually inheriting it. The mechanism is a standard trust where a beneficiary has a life interest.

Flexible Life Interest Will

Life Interest Trust arises when a beneficiary is left a lifetime interest in relation to assets contained in an estate. A Flexible Life Interest Trust provide the trustees with the power to pay trust income, and often trust capital to the Life Tenant.

Living Will 

living will is a written, legal document that spells out medical treatments you would and would not want to be used to keep you alive, as well as your preferences for other medical decisions, such as pain management or organ donation. In determining your wishes, think about your values.

Appointing legal guardians

If you have children under 18 or are a pet owner, you’ll be able to appoint legal guardians in your will. This allows you to decide who would take care of them if you weren’t around

What is a guardian?

A guardian is the person legally responsible for looking after your children if you die before they turn 18.

What are a guardian’s responsibilities?

A legal guardian is responsible for all the roles you would usually play as a parent, including:

  • Bringing them up until they reach adulthood
  • Giving them somewhere safe to live
  • Maintaining their diet and health
  • Making sure they get an education

How to choose legal guardians for your will

 
Who can be a legal guardian?

A legal guardian can be anyone who doesn’t already have parental responsibility for your children, such as your parents, siblings or close friends.

How many guardians should I choose for my children?

When writing a will, most people appoint one legal guardian for their children, but you may want to name two people if they’re a couple.

Should I appoint guardians for my step-children?

You can only appoint guardians for your step-children if you have parental responsibility for them.

This also means that you won’t automatically take responsibility for your step-children if your partner dies unexpectedly.

What happens to a child if both parents die?

If both parents die before appointing a guardian, the courts will be left to approve who takes care of them. This will usually be a close relative, but it may not necessarily be the person you would choose.

What happens if the beneficiaries in my Will die before me?

Writing a will is all about being prepared for the unexpected. So, when you choose who you want to inherit your estate, we’ll also ask you to name back-ups in case your chosen beneficiary dies before you. These are known as secondary beneficiaries.

You may, for example, choose to leave your entire estate to your partner. You could then choose your children as secondary beneficiaries – so if your partner dies before you, everything would go to your children.

How to choose who inherits your estate

With our service, you can set out who you want to inherit your estate. You can also update your will anytime in the future, which is perfect for when there are new additions to the family.

Choosing your executors

Another thing you’ll want to think about before writing a will is who you want to choose as your executors. These are the people responsible for following the wishes set out in your will.

The first person most people think of is their partner, but this could be an unwelcome burden at a time that’s already so difficult for them. Other common choices for executors are adult children, siblings, close friends and professional executor services.

What is an executor of a Will?

An executor of a will is somebody you nominate to carry out the wishes left in your will. They could be a friend, family member or a professional – the most important thing is that they feel comfortable and confident administering your estate.

What do my executors have to do when I die?

The first thing your executors need to do is find your will, so it’s important you tell them where it’s kept after you’ve printed and signed it alongside two witnesses. If it’s needed, they’ll then be responsible for applying for probate so they can follow the wishes you set out in your will.

Your executors are also responsible for dealing with your estate. This may include closing your bank accounts, paying off any debts, and selling or transferring property so they can share everything out between your beneficiaries.

How many executors do I need to appoint when I write a Will?

You need to appoint at least one executor of your will – but you can choose up to four people or professionals.

Can an executor also be a beneficiary?

Yes, any of your beneficiaries can also act as your executor, as long as they’re over 18 years old.

You can include funeral wishes in your will. This is completely optional, but it can really help to prevent family disputes over your funeral when you’re gone.

The best type of will for married couples depends entirely on your situation. If it’s the first time either of you has been married and neither of you have children from a previous relationship, a joint will is probably the best option.

Joint wills are a convenient way to write your wills together while also including some of your own individual wishes.

How does a joint Will work?

When writing joint wills, most couples choose to mirror each other’s wishes for things they share responsibility or ownership for. This includes things like:

  • Appointing the same legal guardians for your children
  • Choosing the same people to look after your pets
  • Dividing up your estate in the same way

Each partner may then decide to leave more personal wishes in other parts of their will, including:

  • Leaving a specific gift to a loved one
  • Donating to a charity that’s particularly close to your heart
  • Appointing executors of your will
  • Writing messages of farewell to family and friends
  • Leaving funeral wishes so your family know what you would have wanted

It’s recommended that you update your will every two years. This is to make sure that any changes in your circumstances are reflected in your will. This includes things like:

  • You have a new child
  • You get engaged, married or divorced
  • You move house
  • You buy or sell any property
  • You inherit money or property
  • One of your executors, beneficiaries or guardians dies
  • You want to change who is inheriting your estate
  • You want to add a specific gift or message to someone you love
  • Inheritance tax legislation or the law governing wills changes

You can choose who you want to inherit your residuary estate. Any property that’s solely owned or owned as tenants in common at the time of your death will make up part of this. 

If you’ve paid off the mortgage, your beneficiaries will inherit your property and be able to choose what to do with it. But if you haven’t paid off the mortgage, they’ll inherit the property – usually along with all its debt. 

Sole trader

Sole trader businesses are the simple to deal with when writing a will. You can leave this type of business as part of your residuary estate

Limited company

All limited companies in the UK have both a memorandum and articles of association. The articles of association may also say what should happen to your share of the business when you die. We recommend using our premium advised service (https://www.yourwillmatters.co.uk/write-your-will/) if you have a limited company.

Partnership

A formal partnership agreement usually sets out what will happen to your share of the business when you die. The terms of this agreement will override any wishes stated in your will, so make sure you take the time to read the initial agreement. If you didn’t create a partnership agreement and there isn’t one in place at the date of your death, the partnership can be forced to cease trading when a partner dies.

Limited liability partnership

LLP agreement or LLP members’ agreement. is designed to make sure the LLP can carry on if one of its members dies. If you’re a member of an LLP, familiarise yourself with the terms of your agreement before you start writing a will.

After writing a will, you need to sign it alongside two witnesses to make it legally binding. First, you should sign your will with both witnesses watching, then each witness should add their signature alongside details like their name, address and occupation. This is so that, if your will is contested in the future, your witnesses can testify that they watched you sign your will. 

A will can be witnessed and signed by anyone over 18, as long as they don’t stand to benefit from it.

Here are a few of the simplest options:

  • Neighbours
  • Colleagues
  • Friends
  • Relatives

Your will can’t be witnessed by anyone who stands to benefit from it. This includes:

  • Anyone you’ve left a gift or part of your estate to – otherwise known as beneficiaries. This means that, if you’ve chosen to leave your estate to your partner and children, they can’t witness your will.
  • The spouse or civil partner of any beneficiaries. So, if you’ve chosen to leave part of your estate to your daughter, your daughter’s husband can’t witness your will.

Yes, an executor can witness a will, as long as they aren’t a beneficiary (or the spouse or civil partner of a beneficiary).

The law in England and Wales recommends that anyone who is elderly or seriously ill should ask a medical practitioner, such as a GP, to act as a witness to their will. This is particularly important if you are mentally ill or have a terminal illness, as you need to be able to demonstrate testamentary capacity when writing a will. 

You can choose who you want to inherit your residuary estate. Any property that’s solely owned or owned as tenants in common at the time of your death will make up part of this. 

If you’ve paid off the mortgage, your beneficiaries will inherit your property and be able to choose what to do with it. But if you haven’t paid off the mortgage, they’ll inherit the property – usually along with all its debt. 

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    Why choose
    Your Will Matters?

    We’ll ensure that the assets that you worked
    hard for throughout your life are protected
    once you’re no longer here.
    Our quick & easy process takes the hassle
    out of will writing, meaning that you can get
    it done in no time.

    Hard to Contest
    Many wills can be contested if loopholes are found, or if they’re not up to date. Our wills are very unlikely to be contested.
    Quick and simple process

    Saves time compared to visiting a high street solicitor. Whether you use our easy online tool, or you’d rather speak to a member of our team, our process is designed to take as little time as possible.

    Professional advice and support

    Our solicitors are on hand to assist you in the process. Whether this is the first will you’ve written, or you’re updating an old one, we all need a little help sometimes.

    Avoid issues once you’re
    gone

    Without a will, dividing your estate may cause disputes, dependents may lose your financial support, you may create an unnecessary inheritance tax bill and the courts will choose new guardians for your children. It doesn’t take long and your family will be thankful.

    “This firm came recommended by a
    family friend and I can see why.”

    I always thought writing a will was a very complicated process
    that I had put off doing for a long time. They are fast and
    understanding and they do explain everything thoroughly, so
    you fully understand. Their prices are very competitive as well.

    Sunil Joseph, Happy Customer

    Please note the testimonials used within this website are solely for our premium service. When clients opt to use our premium service our legal partner My Law Matters will be preparing the will.