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Will Drafting Service

General Guidance Notes

IMPORTANT

Please read the Guidance Notes carefully. It is extremely important that you understand them and if you have any queries please contact us.

  1. If you are not domiciled in the United Kingdom or if you have assets outside the UK, an English Will may not be valid to dispose with all or part of your Estate. You must tell us if you have any concerns on this point. You should also be aware that any international connection or foreign property raises more complex tax issues for which please see below.

  2. If you own any property jointly with another person, it may be that you are unable to pass this property to somebody else by means of your Will. For example in relation to land if you own a property with another as "joint tenants" then on your death your interest would automatically pass to the survivor regardless of what was in your Will unless the joint tenancy had been formally "severed" before your death. However if the property is held as "tenants in common" then your share in the property could be dealt with in your Will subject to any applicable trusts or similar arrangements affecting your interest.

  3. Please confirm whether you have made or are intending to make any substantial gifts to your beneficiaries while you are still alive. Any such gifts may have Inheritance Tax implications.

  4. You should think carefully about whom you wish to appoint as your executors as they will have the responsibility of winding up your estate. You should seek their confirmation that they will be willing to act as your executors. If a trust could be created by your Will, you will need to appoint at least two executors. You may also consider appointing alternative executors should any of your appointed executors be unable or unwilling to act. You should be aware that should you choose to appoint people acting in a professional capacity (either ourselves, your accountants or bankers), they will be entitled under the terms of the Will to charge for the time spent on administering your estate.

  5. You should be aware that, under the provisions of the relevant legislation, it is possible that anybody who relies upon you for financial support might be able to make a claim against your estate. In particular, this may apply to children (including adult children) you maintain even though they do not live with you. In addition depending on the circumstances spouses and former spouses may be entitled to make such a claim where no adequate financial provision has been made for them.

  6. It is important to consider whether there is to be a "catch-all" clause in the Will so that any potential beneficiaries who are not yet born are not excluded from the Will. Also whether there should be any substitute beneficiaries in case those nominated die before you or are otherwise unable to take their gift e.g. if children do not reach the age nominated in the Will.

  7. If you would like us to look into the Inheritance Tax position on your estate please tick the appropriate box in the Wills Questionnaire. However Inheritance Tax is a complex issue and you should take specific advice on your position before making any decisions for Inheritance Tax purposes. Unless you have specifically asked us to advise on Inheritance Tax matters then we will not advise on Inheritance Tax or on any other tax implications of your affairs but will simply prepare a basic Will in accordance with your instructions and we shall assume that you are taking separate advice on tax planning.
  8. You should also be aware that, if you provide in your Will that a specific piece of property should pass to a beneficiary and you no longer own that piece of property on your death, the gift to the beneficiary will fail. If you wish to leave a specific gift to someone in this manner, it is advisable to either provide for a substitute gift or, alternatively, make a general statement in the Will relating to that particular type of gift. For example, rather than providing that "I leave my Nissan Micra registration number [ ] to my daughter", a more appropriate form of wording might be "I leave my Fiat Uno or any other car which I may own at my death to my daughter".

  9. If you wish to make a charitable bequest, it is essential that the charity be fully identified. In your replies to the Wills Questionnaire, you should provide the full name of the charity.

  10. If you are a member of a company insurance or pension scheme the entitlement to benefits on death will depend upon the rules of the scheme and may not fall into your estate for probate purposes. You should consult the appropriate person in your company or in the relevant provider of the scheme.

  11. Many people are interested in the possibility of drawing up mutual Wills with their partner. These Wills are identical and the effects of executing such a Will is that on the death of one party the Will of the other party cannot be revoked. However, we would not recommend that you seek to execute mutual Wills, as there are many pitfalls involved. In particular, it is open to either party to revoke the Will whilst both parties are alive without informing the other party. The effect of this would be to remove the mutuality of the Wills.