All Your Will Questions Answered.
Do I need a Will?
Yes. At its most basic, a Will is used to say who gets your property - house, house contents, jewellery, investments, savings etcetera - when you die.
What happens if I don't leave a Will?
If you don't leave a Will, when you die your property is distributed as follows (in England & Wales):
Your husband/wife or civil partner receive the first £250,000 of your estate, then half of everything else. This applies if you are separated and not legally divorced.
If you have no children, grandchildren or great grandchildren, the rest of the estate too; or
If you do have children, half equally between the children. If there are no children living, but there are grandchildren, then to the grandchildren, and so on.
If I've left a Will, what happens when I die?
Your executors (who you appoint in your Will) work out what you have left, call it in, and then give it to the people that you have specified in your Will.
They Will have to get a grant of probate, pay probate fees and any taxes due.
This is a simplified view of a process that takes 6 months to 2 years (the process of obtaining probate and then giving your estate to the people you have specified).
If I don't leave a Will, does my estate still have to go through probate?
Yes, although it has a different name - letters of administration - but is essentially the same process where the estate is worth more than £5,000.
What information do Town & Country Law need to prepare my Will?
You will need to think about who you would like to deal with your estate and obtain a grant of probate - these will be your executors (often married couples and civil partners leave each other as executors, and then their children once they have both died).
You will also need to consider who you want to inherit your estate, whether there are any terms to the inheritance (e.g. children being over 21 years of age), and what their names and addresses are.
Do I need professional executors?
This depends on your circumstances. We usually advise clients to appoint executors based on who is going to inherit the most of their estate - don't forget, they can get professional advice at the time if needed.
Sometimes it is beneficial to have professional executors - always make sure you're getting a good deal, check what will be charged and make sure you're happy with it.
I already have a Will, do I need a new one?
Maybe. The best advice is to review your Will every 5 years, and whenever there are major changes in your life, for example marriage or divorce.
Can I exclude people from my Will?
Yes. It needs to be done correctly though, but we can of course advise you.