FAQs

Why do I need a Will?

What happens if I don’t have a will?

Can I change my will once it has been written?

What do I do with a will once it’s finalised?

What is an Executor?

Who can be an Executor?

What is a Trustee?

What is a Trust?

What is Probate?

How long does Probate take?

 

 

Why do I need a Will?

Quite simply, a will is the only way to ensure your assets go where you want them to go after your death. A will is one of the most important legal documents you will ever produce, and getting it right is essential. Working with professional will writers ensures that all of your wishes are carried out the way you’d like them to be.

What happens if I don’t have a will?

When a person dies without a valid will, the “Rules of Intestacy” apply. This means that your estate will be divided by the calculations that are set out in the law. There are some serious implications to this:

  • Your spouse is not automatically entitled to inherit your assets – without a will, they are only entitled to the first £250,000 of your estate
  • If you are unmarried, it is highly unlikely your partner will receive any of your individually owned assets upon death

Unmarried partners, lesbian or gay partners not in a civil partnership, relations by marriage (i.e. your in-laws), close friends and carers do not have any rights to inherit if you have no will

Can I change my will once it has been written?

Yes, you can change your will as often as you like during your lifetime. But you should not try and amend an existing will by writing on it, it is important to make any changes properly otherwise they may not be legally binding. This usually means creating a new will, or adding a special addendum, called a Codicil, to your existing will. We can help you make sure any changes you’d like to make are properly included in your final will.

What do I do with a will once it’s finalised?

It is important to store your will in a way that ensures it is protected from loss, and to let your executors know where to find it. Abbotts Wills offer will storage, so that you don’t have to worry about misplacing the document, or losing it in a flood or fire.

What is an Executor?

An Executor is the person nominated in your will to carry out your directions. They are legally responsible for completing the probate process. An Executor’s duties include obtaining the estate information, collection and arranging for payment of debts, completing necessary forms, ensuring tax is paid and distributing the assets according to the will.

The Executor can do this themselves, or they can engage a professional to handle the process. There are strict regulations, and if the process is not managed correctly it is possible for the Executor to find themselves personally liable for the deceased’s debts and any losses involved. Hiring a professional avoids these concerns, as we can ensure that everything is taken care of correctly. A Beneficiary can be named as an Executor.

Who can be an Executor?

There is no requirement for an Executor to be a legal or financial expert, although many people do choose to appoint someone with these skills. The main thing to consider when choosing who to name as Executor is that they have honesty, integrity and diligence.

What is a Trustee?

A Trustee is responsible for using the money or assets in a trust to benefit another person or persons.

The way the money or assets are to be used must be in accordance with the details set out in the trust.

Trustees are the legal owners of any assets held in a trust. Their role is to:

  • deal with trust assets in line with the trust deed
  • manage the trust on a day-to-day basis and pay any tax due on the income or chargeable gains of the trust (find out more by following the link below)
  • decide how to invest the trust’s assets and/or how the assets in the trust are to be used – although this must always be in line with the trust deed

The trust can continue even though the trustees might change. However, there must be at least one trustee. Often there will be a minimum of two trustees. One trustee may be a professional familiar with trusts – a lawyer, for example – while the other may be a family member or relative.

What is a Trust?

A trust is a legal arrangement where one or more ‘trustees’ are made legally responsible for holding assets. The assets – such as land, money, buildings, shares or even antiques – are placed in trust for the benefit of one or more ‘beneficiaries’

The trustees are responsible for managing the trust and carrying out the wishes of the person who has put the assets into trust (the ‘settlor’). The settlor’s wishes for the trust are usually written in their will or set out in a legal document called ‘the trust deed.’

Trusts may be set up for a number of reasons, for example:

  • to control and protect family assets
  • when someone is too young to handle their affairs, and have someone manage it until the child turns 18 (or older)
  • when someone can’t handle their affairs because they are incapacitated
  • to pass on money or property while you are still alive
  • to pass on money or assets when you die under the terms of your will – known as a ‘will trust’

What is Probate?

Probate is the process that Executors follow, before applying for the Grant of Probate. It is sometimes called administering the estate. Probate can be a complicated process, involving various forms that must be filed, and non-professional Executors will need to attend a court hearing to obtain the Grant.

How long does Probate take?

There’s no definite answer to this question, it generally depends on how complicated the estate is. But it will usually take a number of months – between 3 and 6 months for a relatively simple estate, to many more for a complex situation. If you’d like to know more about the process please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

  • Will Writing Services

    A will is one of the most important legal documents you will ever produce, and is the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out and your estate is divided in the way that you choose.

  • Probate Services

    Probate is a legal process that occurs once an individual has died, where your Executors/Personal Representatives handle your estate, including taxes, debts and distributions of inheritance.

  • Estate Planning

    Sometimes your circumstances may require additional clauses in your will to protect your assets against remarriage or bankruptcy or divorce of a beneficiary or to assist in mitigating inheritance tax.

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  • Christmas and New Year Closing

    Our offices will be closed from 5pm on December 23rd and will re-open on January 3rd.

    Telephone messages will be checked over this period for any urgent matters, as will our info@abbottswills.co.uk email address.

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    12 months ago  ·  

    "Dear Jo and Emma, thank you for all of your help, advice, support and patience, during what has been a long and painful two year journey for me, finest love Mrs K"

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    2 years ago  ·  

    Are you currently cohabiting with your partner but not married? Do you know that without a Will it is highly unlikely you will receive anything from your partners estate if they were to die? Have a Will and protect you and loved ones. ... See MoreSee Less

    2 years ago  ·  

    Wonderful testimonial received this morning:
    "Dear Jo and Abbotts Staff,
    I would like to thank you all for dealing with our later mother's estate in a professional manner, especially when you all had to deal with some difficulties. I know it has been very trying at times for you all but I would like to thank you all again for being tolerant and patient. It has been a pleasure meeting and I will always recommend your firm to anyone I know who might need your services"
    Yours Sincerely
    R R, London
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    2 years ago  ·  

    Having a Lasting Power of Attorney will allow your attorneys to make decisions about your property and financial affairs if you have lost the capacity to do so yourself. These must be completed while you still have full capacity. Don't leave it to late. ... See MoreSee Less

    2 years ago  ·