Wills - FAQ
Q. Why do I need a Will?
A Will ensures that your assets pass to your chosen beneficiaries and not via the set rules of intestacy. The rules of intestacy can lead to unmarried partners being excluded entirely or, if you are married or in a civil partnership and you have children the rules can mean that your children can end up taking some of your estate at the expense of your spouse or civil partner. A Will also means that you can name guardians to look after minor children and executors and trustees that you trust to deal with you affairs following your death.
Q. Can I change my Will once it has been signed?
As long as you still have the mental capacity to change your Will then you can do so at any time and as many times as you like.
Q. Can I prepare my own Will?
Anybody can prepare a Will for themselves, however, drawing up your own Will is fraught with danger. For example, your language could be misinterpreted or the Will may not be correctly executed. These scenarios can often lead to more problems than having no Will at all and they can be very expensive to fix.
Q. What happens if I get married or divorced after I have signed my Will?
Marriage automatically revokes an existing Will. If your Will is being prepared and you know that you are getting married in the near future then this can be avoiding by drafting your Will ‘in contemplation of marriage’. If your Will was not drafted in this way then it can be brought back into force following your marriage through a Codicil confirming that your wishes remain the same.
In the event of a divorce, your ex spouse or civil partner is deemed to have predeceased you. The remainder of your Will remains valid. It is important to note, however, that this rule only comes into effect when your decree absolute has been granted. Until then, your spouse or civil partner will still benefit and can still act as your executor if named in your Will.
Q. What are executors and who is allowed to be one?
Executors are responsible for dealing with the administration of your estate following death. This can include registering the death, organising the funeral, ascertaining details of the deceased’s assets and liabilities, calculating and settling all tax liabilities (including the preparation and submission of inheritance tax forms), encashing and transferring assets and accounting to the beneficiaries. Anybody who is over the age of 18 and of sound mind can be an executor. Warners would be willing to act in this role if requested.
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