5 De Montfort Street, Leicester LE1 7GE
72B Main Street, Broughton Astley, Leicester LE9 6RD
solicitors leicester

FAQ Wills

Below are some of the questions we are most frequently asked about Wills. Please click on a link to jump to the relevant answer.

Why do I need a Will?

To ensure that those you wish to inherit from you will do so and any foreseeable problems are thought through.

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Why use a solicitor? It’s cheaper to make my own Will using one of those kits.

Our Wills and Probate team has years of professional and personal experience to put at your disposal in assisting you to make the right decisions for your circumstances, taking into account all the relevant issues many of which may not have occurred to you.

Anyone using a homemade Will kit may well end up with a valid Will, but is it the right Will for their circumstances? Wouldn’t you prefer to be sure? Solicitors are fully trained in multiple areas of law and can bring a breadth of knowledge and legal experience to their work

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Do you charge for storing my Will?

Unlike many commercial Will writing firms we do not charge for storing Wills.

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What’s a Codicil?

It’s a legally valid document making minor changes to a Will, which is read together with the original Will, to reflect your wishes.

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But I am not wealthy so why do I need a Will?

In addition to the reasons already given, if you have young contact Frisby & Small solicitorschildren, then your Will is vital as you can use it to appoint a guardian to look after them if sadly both parents die whilst any of the children are under the age of 18. You can decide who controls their inheritance until they are old enough to inherit outright. This can be when they reach 18 or you might decide to delay it until they older. A solicitor can advise you on what points to consider when making these decisions.

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Won’t my spouse inherit everything anyway?

Not necessarily, it depends on the value of your estate. Under the intestacy rules, if you have more than 270,000 in your own name then your spouse will not necessarily inherit everything.

Different rules apply to jointly held assets. We can advise you on how this would affect you. What if the deceased didn't make a Will?

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If I don’t have a Will doesn’t the government get it all?

No. There are fixed rules covering who inherits in such a situation, called the rules of intestacy, therefore those you would like to inherit might not qualify under these rules. What if the deceased didn't make a Will?

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Do my children have to inherit?

The law says that you should make “reasonable financial provision” for your children, although it is a matter of interpretation in each case what would be “reasonable”. There is a procedure by which those left out of a Will may be able to challenge that decision, within a set time period, but that does not mean that they would be successful. Good legal advice at the time of making your Will can allow you to understand the issues and make the appropriate arrangements to avoid such a claim and hopefully reduce the likely hassle (and costs) if anyone was to challenge to the terms of your Will after your death.

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I’ve already given one of my children a lot of financial help, do I have to treat them equally in my Will?

No, but as explained above, the “reasonable financial provision” test would still apply so it would be sensible to make it clear in the Will or an accompanying document, why you have treated your children differently, to avoid the problems mentioned above that could arise after your death.

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What about Inheritance Tax? I’ve heard that it is no longer a serious issue.

In 2007 the rules were changed to allow any unused Inheritancecontact Frisby & Small solicitors Tax allowance to be transferred to the estate of the surviving spouse. The rules are a little complicated but basically mean that for many people Inheritance Tax is less likely to apply, but you do need to seek advice based upon your own situation as sometimes other factors, such as lifetime gifts and overseas assets can affect your liability for Inheritance Tax. Some beneficiaries, such as charities and spouses, are exempt from paying the tax in any event.

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I’ve just got married do I need to change my Will?

Yes. Marriage (or civil partnership) automatically revokes an existing Will, unless that Will was made in contemplation of that marriage and therefore contains the appropriate clause to prevent its revocation.

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I am divorcing, do I need to change my Will?

Yes, because until you are actually divorced, any gifts to your spouse in your Will are still valid, and your spouse would inherit at least part of your estate under the intestacy rules if you do not have a Will. However, you need to be aware that even if you exclude your spouse from any benefit under your new Will, and you die before your divorce is finalised, your spouse could still contest your Will. We can work with our Family Law department to make sure you have the appropriate advice.

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I’ve remarried, how do I protect my own children’s inheritance?

There are a number of ways the inheritance for children can be safeguarded, but this has to be consistent with your legal obligation to make “reasonable financial provision” for your new spouse as well (see above), so it is not always as simple as it sounds. With their wealth of experience, our Solicitors know the right questions to ask so that they understand your circumstances and therefore can advise you properly.

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Will my co-habiting partner inherit even if I don’t make a Will?

No. Only spouses and civil partners can automatically inherit from each other if there is no Will. For co-habiting couples specific arrangements need to be made. Even then the “reasonable financial provision” test may be relevant if you also have children or are still legally married to someone else, even if separated. This is a situation where proper legal advice and a professionally drawn up Will is essential.

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Can someone challenge or change my Will after I’ve died?

Yes. If you have not made “reasonable financial provision” for contact Frisby & Small solicitorsyour dependents they have the right to make a claim against your estate. Although the claim may not be successful, it can still considerably delay the administration of the estate and incur costs, so it is helpful to take legal advice if you think this could happen and prepare your Will with this in mind.

Beneficiaries are also free to disclaim their inheritance or to redirect their share. Sometimes beneficiaries wish to pass their inheritance to the next generation, or to give a greater share to someone else perhaps to avoid the costs of a claim. This is called Varying the Will and needs to be done with the correct legal advice and documentation.

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If I leave everything to my new spouse, how do I know they won’t change their Will after my death and disinherit my children?

You don’t. Couples do sometimes agree to make unchangeable Wills (called mutual Wills), but it is extremely unusual and not always the right way to solve that problem.

Good legal advice can suggest more practical solutions, such as ring-fencing certain assets for your children to inherit whilst still allowing your spouse to benefit from them.

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I have property abroad, can my English Will cover it?

If you only have investments or bank accounts abroad, then yes, in most situations your English Will should cover them, but you should always seek advice from a lawyer in the relevant country as sometimes a local Will can make dealing with those assets easier (and maybe therefore cheaper) after your death.

However if you have a house/flat or land abroad then you will almost certainly need to make a Will in that country. You also need to remember that the taxes applying upon death and/or the sale of assets may be different in each country and should be taken into account when drafting Wills. You should take advice in the country concerned and then speak to our solicitors.

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Would a subsequent overseas Will over-rule my English Will?

This needs to be handled carefully depending upon your intention. The lawyers involved need to be made aware of other Wills and all overseas assets so thatcontact Frisby & Small solicitors the right action is taken. You can have more than one valid Will, provided each deals with separate jurisdictions, but great care needs to be taken that each Will is drafted to sit alongside the other Will(s) and does not accidentally revoke an earlier Will. Specialist advice would be needed and full information must be given to all lawyers involved.

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I’ve moved, do I need to change my Will?

Not usually, although sometimes a Will contains arrangements about a specific property which might thereby be affected and hence a change would be needed. It is obviously helpful to make sure the Solicitors holding your Will are aware of any move so they can check whether this is the case, and also so that they know where to contact you in the future. It is also helpful to give new addresses for any Executors, guardians or beneficiaries mentioned in the Will.

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I have already made a Will, how do I know if it is still valid?

We are happy to review any existing Will for free and indicate whether any changes are necessary.

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I wish to make a Will, what do I need to consider before coming to see you?

We find it helpful if you can come with a general idea of your assets and their worth, including any pension provisions. We don’t need exact details, contact Frisby & Small solicitorsjust a general idea. Depending on whether you already know what you wish to do, you may also need:

  • Full names and addresses of those you would like to inherit
  • Whom you would like to inherit if any chosen beneficiary were sadly to die before you
  • Full names and addresses of the people you would like to carry out the administration of your estate after your death (the Executors). Contrary to popular belief these can also be beneficiaries.
  • If relevant, the full names and addresses of those you wish to appoint as guardian(s) of your children
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How much will it cost me to make a Will?

A simple Will for one person costs from as little as 180 +VAT, and for a married couple making identical Wills from 300 + VAT, depending upon their circumstances. We will confirm the charges at the initial appointment once details of your circumstances and the terms of your Will are clear.

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Is it possible to change the effect of a Will after someone has died?

After someone has died, any adult beneficiary under a Will or an intestacy is free to disclaim their own inheritance or to redirect their share. Sometimes beneficiaries wish to save Inheritance Tax, or pass their inheritance to the next generation, or give a greater share to someone else perhaps to avoid the costs of a claim against the estate by a disappointed beneficiary. This is called Varying the Will and needs to be done with the correct legal advice and documentation.

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