Over many years our life planning team have been advising people on how to make wills, helping them draw up their wills and saving them a lot of stress.
Here are the most common questions our solicitors get asked about wills:
Are wills made public in the UK?
Wills become public in the UK only when someone dies, and probate is needed. Probate is a legal process where the Court recognises the authority to administer a deceases person’s Estate. So, yes, in that case, wills must become a public document, and anyone can apply for a copy.
How can I obtain a copy of a will?
The only people that can obtain a copy of a will are the executors of the estate. If you believe someone has left something and you wish to view their will you can apply to the Probate Registry for a search of Grands of Probate.
The Probate Registry will check the records and if a Grant of Probate has been made then any member of the public can obtain a copy of that Grant and the Will.
Are wills legally binding?
Yes, a will is a legally binding document that is created by you or by your behalf to determine what will happen to your estate – property, assets and other possessions- after your death.
How are wills written?
Wills can be written by yourself or with the help of a solicitor. We always advise to use a solicitor or to at least have a solicitor check your will to make sure everything is correct.
If you wish to write up a will yourself, you can do so but just keep in mind that you will need to be fully aware of the laws around wills, for example, the effect of marriage or divorce on a will.
Our Life Planning team specialises in helping people create and plan their wills. Our team will get to know you and look at your requirements.
Can wills be changed after death?
A will can be changed after a person’s death, as long as any beneficiaries are left worse off by the changes agreed.
Any changes to the will must be completed within 2 years of the death, the will can be changed to:
- reduce the amount of Inheritance or Capital Gains Tax payable
- provide for someone who was left out of the will
- move the deceased’s assets into a trust
- or clear up any uncertainty over the will
Where are wills kept?
There isn’t a specific place that the law says you must keep your will, you decide where to keep it. If a solicitor writes your will, they will store the original document and give you a copy.
Some other options are to keep it with your documents in a safe place or store it with the Probate Service. Whatever you decide to do just make sure your executor knows where it is.
A lot of people think wills are usually for the rich and famous, but the truth is that it’s important to make a will whatever the number of assets or amount of money you might have.
If you die without a will, certain laws take over and dictate how your possessions should be allocated, is that what you would have wished?
If you have more questions or need some advice on how to write a will, you can contact us using the form on our website or by calling your local office.