Wills & Probate
Making a Will
Making a Will is not necessarily a complicated process. However, you should be aware that we will need to know certain information.
- What you own – property, goods, insurance and pensions, savings etc.
- Who gets what – family, friends, charities etc.
- Your status – married, divorced, remarried, civil partnership
- Any children under 18? May have to appoint a guardian.
- Any specific funeral wishes? For example, cremation or burial?
- Do you want to donate organs?
Who will be the Executors of the Will?
You must also name the people you want to appoint as ‘executors’ of your will – the people who carry out the administration of your will after your death. These could be friends or family members, or a professional such as your solicitor. A good combination would be a friend or family member and a professional. Ideally, you should choose someone who is familiar with financial matters. Make sure you ask your executors whether they are happy to take on this duty as there are long-term responsibilities involved, particularly if you include a trust in your will. It is a good idea to ask someone younger than you to be one of your executors.
Signing the Will
Once the will has been drawn up it is not effective until it has been signed. There are several rules affecting the signature process which, if not followed correctly, will make your will invalid. For example, witnesses and their husbands, wives or civil partners cannot benefit under the will. Many people use staff at their solicitor’s office to act as their witnesses to avoid this problem.
Where to store the Will
It is important to keep your will in a safe place and to tell your executors, a close friend or a relative where it is. People often ask their solicitor to store their wills for them. Many institutions will do this for you at a cost, but we will do this for you without charge.
Keeping your Will up to date
You should review your Will at least every five years and after any major life changes such as getting separated, married or divorced, having a child or moving house. It is best to deal with any major changes by getting a new Will drawn up. But it is also possible to make minor changes (or ‘codicils’) to your existing Will. In any cases it is best to consult us.
After a divorce, the former spouse is no longer able to act as an Executor or receive any benefit under the Will.
When a person dies, someone has to deal with the deceased’s affairs. This is called ‘administering the estate’. We, at Martyn Prowel Solicitors, are experienced in dealing with administrations and can either deal with matters entirely or can offer assistance and guidance to the administrators or executors as matters proceed.