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Home > Making Your Will

Making Your Will - The Information You Need

Clear Answers' Wills service is provided by BBH Legal Services Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Thompsons Solicitors LLP. This document is designed to provide important information and guidance for anyone wishing to make a Will and answer some commonly asked questions. The word ‘partners’ is used in this document to refer to all partners, regardless of the marital status, sexuality or gender.

This fact sheet is intended as a general statement of the procedure and does not purport to render specific advice, legal or otherwise: specific advice on a particular problem should always be sought.

About Wills

What is the purpose of a Will?
If someone without a Will dies, what happens to their estate?
Who will make sure my wishes are followed when I die?
Living Wills
Inheritance Tax
Useful Information

What Can Be Included in a Will?

Which assets might not be covered by my Will?
How would a divorce or remarriage affect my Will?
What if I do not wish to leave anything to my family?
If my partner inherits some of my assets, can I ensure that he / she does not leave them to someone that I do not wish to inherit them?
Wills and civil partnerships
Can a friend or relative be appointed to look after my affairs in the event that I become mentally infirm?
How do I make arrangements for my children?

Making a Will

Thompsons Solicitors' Will making service
Witnessing a Will
Where should my Will be kept?
When is it necessary to change my Will?
The financial checklist
Fees and steps to begin the process

About Wills

What is the purpose of a Will?

A properly drafted Will is intended to convey your wishes regarding certain matters following your death. The instructions held within your Will outline the decisions you have made. Generally, this will include information such as:

If your Will includes comprehensive details of your wishes and is correctly, legally drawn up, signed and witnessed, it will provide instructions for your executors in dealing with your affairs.

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If someone without a Will dies, what happens to their estate?

There are rules in law known as Intestacy Rules. In any case where there is not an existing Will, these come into effect and your estate is divided accordingly. Your relatives will have to take care of your affairs, which can be a complicated matter.

Without the guidance of a valid Will, your estate would not be left to a surviving partner, who is not a civil partner, as the law does not provide for unmarried partners. Other than adopted children, children that are not biological children of the deceased are also not provided for by law.

If a person has no surviving blood relatives or spouse, their estate will be left to the Crown.

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Who will make sure my wishes are followed when I die?

You must include in your Will the names of people that you wish to act as ‘executors’. These individuals will administer your estate and carry out your wishes as described in your Will. Below are some important facts about executors:

When a Will appoints an executor, a Grant of Probate still has to be obtained from the Probate Registry in most cases. It is also usually necessary to complete and file Inland Revenue and Capital Tax returns to list the full details of a person’s assets. Because of this, in most cases the executors and trustees instruct a solicitor to administrate the estate.

We have a well established, experienced probate department equipped to deal with the administration of estates. This service is available at a very reasonable cost, based on the amount of work involved and not a percentage of the estate as with many banks.

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Living Wills

A Living Will relates to the control of medical treatment prior to a person’s death, rather than events following their death.

Often these are created in circumstances where a person’s condition is such that in the future they may not be able to communicate their wishes. For example, if there are certain circumstances that they would not want to be treated.

If a Living Will is drawn up, it enables a person to outline any medical treatment that they would wish to refuse and under which circumstances. It is not possible to give instructions for treatment or actions that would cause death.

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Inheritance Tax

Inheritance Tax (also known as IHT) is payable on a person’s estate following their death and also on some gifts made to others during their lifetime.

For more information on IHT, see the GOV.UK website.

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Useful Information

For further information on Wills and probate, or what you should do following someone’s death, you may find the following websites useful:

GOV.UK
Citizens Advice Bureau
Land Registry
Advicenow

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What Can Be Included in a Will?

Which assets might not be covered by my Will?

Certain assets may not fall under the scope of your Will. Generally, this would include any jointly owned assets (such as a joint bank account or property) and some policies or pensions where the fund is controlled by trustees.

Some steps that you can take to ensure that your assets are divided in accordance with your wishes are:

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How would a divorce or remarriage affect my Will?

If a person divorces, their former spouse is effectively omitted from their Will. They are no longer entitled to act as executor (even if they are named as such) and will not inherit any gifts or part of the estate. The remainder of the Will would still be considered valid.

A person that is separated from their spouse but not divorced, even if they co-habit with a new partner, would find that their legal spouse may still be entitled to inherit from them under an existing Will. In these circumstances you should ensure that you amend or cancel any previous Will and make provisions for your current partner and any children.

A marriage, or remarriage, will generally cancel any previous Will. This should be noted as it can mean that you are left without any Will and the Intestacy Rules will come into effect. It is possible, however, to add a clause into your Will to prevent it from being cancelled by your remarriage or marriage in certain circumstances.

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What if I do not wish to leave anything to my family?

It is up to you whether you wish to leave anything to members of your family, however if you have financial dependents and they are not adequately provided for, they may be in a position to contest your Will and try to claim a share of your estate.

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If my partner inherits some of my assets, can I ensure that he / she does not leave them to someone that I do not wish to inherit them?

It is possible to give your partner a limited interest in your estate. For example you could specify that:

This will make the administration of your estate much more complicated and it will have to be held by trustees upon trust. To arrange for your Will to have this type of clause inserted may require work outside of the Wills scheme, for which we may have to make a charge.

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Wills and civil partnerships

Entering into or dissolving a civil partnership has the same effect on a Will as a marriage or divorce. As with a marriage, if you are about to form a civil partnership, you should inform your solicitor so that your Will can be made / amended accordingly.

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Can a friend or relative be appointed to look after my affairs in the event that I become mentally infirm?

The legal document that you would require to have a friend or relative conduct your affairs in the event that you are not capable of doing so yourself is called an Enduring Power of Attorney.

This is not something that can be included in your Will and we are therefore unable to provide it as part of their service.

If you feel that you require an Enduring Power of Attorney, you should contact a local solicitor for assistance.

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How do I make arrangements for my children?

In most cases, if a parent dies the surviving parent would become the legal guardian. It is always wise however to consider appointing a family member or close friend to become legal guardian in the event of the death of both parents.

It is important to note that unmarried fathers do not have an automatic right to become the guardians of their natural children if the mother dies. They must be appointed by the mother.

The trustees of your estate have authority to provide guardians with financial support for the maintenance, welfare and education of your children.

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Making a Will

Thompsons Solicitors Will making service

Our service makes enables you to make a Will using a straightforward, easy to understand procedure. The service is available to all of our clients, regardless of their gender, marital status or sexuality. Using our questionnaire, your Will can be drafted without any need for you to even visit us, making it possible for you to look after your interests and those of your loved ones with a minimum of fuss.

A Will is an important legal document and our questionnaire can be completed by either a single person (you will need to complete the columns entitled “Yourself”) or a couple (the columns entitled “Yourself” and “Your Partner”). It is important that both partners make Wills as there is always a possibility that you may die together and provisions should be made for such an eventuality.

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Witnessing a Will

Compliance with strict legal procedures is essential when a Will is signed and witnessed. We will provide detailed, easy to understand instructions on how to do this correctly when you sign your Will.

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Where should my Will be kept?

Your Will can be lodged safely with your bank.

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When is it necessary to change my Will?

You should aim to review your Will every two years and at any time when a major change occurs in your life. This could include a change in marital status, a birth or death in your family or an alteration in your financial or personal circumstances.

We are always happy to make changes to, or re-write your Will as and when it is necessary.

If someone named in the document has a change of address, it is only necessary to place a note of the new details with the Will. It will not need to be re-written.

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The Financial Checklist

There is a financial checklist included in the Wills questionnaire document to assist you in making a list of your assets.

Please list all of your assets, such as your home, car, personal possessions, savings and life insurance policies. A similar list should then be made of your liabilities, which would include any outstanding debts, for example mortgages, loans and credit cards.

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Fees and steps to begin the process

Fees are £100 plus VAT for a single Will and £140 plus VAT for a joint Will (through your union you may have access to a Will making service, please contact your union for further details).

Please print off and complete the questionnaire giving full forenames and full addresses in block capitals of everyone you wish to mention – e.g. Rebecca Ann Windsor not Becky A. Windsor. Your application will be returned if not properly completed. Blind or partially sighted visitors to our site can access the Wills questionnaire as a Word document by contacting us on 0800 783 9019. For all other enquires about your Will please call 0800 051 4218.

Return the questionnaire and financial checklist, together with your cheque made payable to 'BBH Legal Services Limited', if appropriate, to BBH Legal Services Limited Wills Department at the address given below:

BBH Legal Services Limited, Eastham Hall 109 Eastham Village Rd, Eastham, Wirral CH62 0AF.

If you are unable to print the questionnaire for any reason, contact us on 0800 783 9019 and we will be happy to send you a copy in the post. For all other enquires about your Will please call 0800 051 4218.

We are an equal opportunities firm and all our services are available equally regardless of sex, race, age, disability, sexual orientation or religious belief. (Our service does not cover Northern Ireland or Scotland).

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