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Wills, Probate and Trusts - FAQ's

Why should I make a Will?

Making a Will is important to ensure that your assets pass to who you want them to. However a Will can do so much more – including appointing guardians, tax planning, creating trusts, protecting assets and dealing with funeral wishes. Without a Will, your estate will not necessarily pass how you would want it to, and it can cause huge heartache and distress for those you leave behind.

What happens if I don’t make a Will?

If you die without making a Will, you have died intestate. This means that your estate will pass in accordance with a strict legal order which stipulates who gets what and when.

At what age can my children inherit?

A child is deemed old enough to accept receipt for monies at the age of 18. However, some people prefer to stipulate an older age for children to inherit – such as 21 or 25 and include different conditions so that the monies may be advanced before this age under certain conditions.

What can I include in my Will?

You can include anything from gifts of money, specific items such as jewellery, you can make provision for pets, funeral wishes, properties, appointment of guardians, trusts, the list goes on.

Can you make a Will if you don’t have mental capacity?

It is possible to make an application to the Court of Protection to make, or change, a Will on behalf of someone who does not have the required mental capacity to do so. This is called a Statutory Will.

How can I protect my assets in my Will?

There are various different ways in which you can protect different assets in your Will. Be it your property, or cash assets, you can include different types of trusts with different conditions to best suit your circumstances and the reasons for wanting to protect them.

What is a Guardian?

A Guardian is a person who has the legal authority to take care of your children should anything happen to you before they turn 18.

What happens if I don’t appoint a Guardian?

By not making a Will to appoint a Guardian to look after your children, you are putting your children at risk of court battles, family disputes and potentially even foster care. A Will makes things very clear as to what your wishes are.

What happens when someone dies?

If there is a Will, it is the responsibility of the Executor(s) named in the Will to take care of the estate. This includes, arranging the funeral, registering the death, notifying everyone of the death, collecting in assets, dealing with any liabilities, paying any debts and ensuring that the estate passes in accordance with the deceased’s Will.

If there isn’t a Will, there is a strict legal order as to whom is entitled to deal with the estate and who is entitled to inherit it. These are called the Intestacy rules.

What does being an Executor/Administrator involve?

Acting as an Executor or Administrator is a very important role. By accepting this role, you are personally liable for dealing with the estate. You must ensure that the administration of the estate is dealt with correctly. The person entitled to deal with the estate has a hefty burden on them to ensure that they are following necessary laws, paying any liabilities, ensuring that beneficiaries are paid, the list goes on.

What if I don’t want to act as an Executor/Administrator?

You can renounce from your appointment as Executor if you have been named in someone’s Will. If you do this, any jointly appointed Executor can still act and sometimes backup Executors can step in.

What is a Grant of Probate?

A Grant is a Court sealed document which provides the Executor/Administrator of the estate with the required legal authority to deal with the estate. If there is a Will, this is called a Grant of Probate. If there isn’t a Will, it’s called a Grant of Letters of Administration.

Do I need to apply for a Grant?

While it is not always necessary to apply for Grant, it is always required if the deceased owned any stocks or shares or, owned any property or land.

What if the deceased left a Will which leaves everything to someone who doesn’t want or need the inheritance?

In this circumstance, it is possible for the beneficiary to vary the terms of the Will and redirect their inheritance. This is known as a Deed of Variation. There are strict rules as to when a Deed of Variation will work so it is essential to take professional advice before anything is done.

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Contact the Wills and Probate Team

If you are looking for legal experts to help you with your Wills, Probate or Trusts needs, our team will give you a call back at the earliest opportunity. Alternatively, you can call our Doncaster office on 01302 341414 or our Sheffield office on 0114 272 1884
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