WILL GUIDANCE NOTES
Please use these Guidance Notes when completing your Will Questionnaire.
Please ensure that all details are correct, including spellings. If you run out of space, or need to
advise us of anything not covered in the questionnaire, please use the Further Details section on the
back page of the questionnaire.
You should make your Will as if you were considering what you would wish in the unlikely event of
you dying now. It is impossible to try and cover what may be your situation in the future. Your Will can
be reviewed and changed if necessary at a later date.
1. PERSONAL DETAILS
Please provide us with your full name, including any middle names. Any Will has to identify clearly
and correctly the person who is making it and this would therefore include reference to any
names by which you are known other than your birth name if you hold assets in the chosen name.
If you are known by any other name, please provide details in the Further Details section at the
end of the questionnaire.
If you intend to marry or re-marry in the near future, please provide us with details of your future
spouse and the date of the marriage or civil partnership in the Further Details section. This
information is essential, as a Will is automatically revoked upon marriage or the formation of a
civil partnership. However, an exception to this rule is if the Will was drawn up in expectation of
marriage or formation of a civil partnership and the intention was that the Will should not be
revoked by the marriage or the formation of the civil partnership. Therefore, if these details are
provided to us we can draft your Will to take this into account.
Please provide us with details of all your children regardless of their age. Please also include any
children you may have from a previous marriage or any adopted children. You should be aware
that under the provisions of The Inheritance Family Provision for Dependents legislation a close
relative such as a child, spouse, former spouse or Civil Partner who has been maintained by you,
might be able to make a claim against your estate if you leave nothing to them in the Will on the
grounds that you failed to make a reasonable financial provision for them in the Will. If you need
any further advice on this please indicate in the Further Details section.
Y OUR HOME AND /OR OTHER PROPERTIES
Please confirm whether you own your own property. If you own property jointly, we need to know
if possible whether it is held as “joint tenants” or “tenants in common.” The distinction between the
two is important as it dictates how you can deal with your property in your Will. If you hold your
property as “joint tenants”, then on your death your interest would automatically pass to the
survivor regardless of what was in your Will. If your property is held as “tenants in common” then
your share of the property could be dealt with according to your Will. If you are currently “joint
tenants” but wish the property to pass according to your Will, it is possible to “sever” the joint
tenancy and change to “tenants in common.” Holding property as “tenants-in-common” can be
beneficial in saving future potential care home fees. If you would like further information regarding
this, please indicate in the Further Details section. If you do not know whether you are “joint
tenants” or “tenants in common” we are usually able to obtain this information from the Land
Registry subject to you paying the Land Registry charge.
If your property is leasehold and there are 70 years or less left on the lease we advise that it is in
your interest to purchase the freehold now otherwise the future cost of buying the freehold or
extending your lease could be extremely expensive and difficulties might occur with a future sale
of your property. Furthermore, if your home is to be left to your next of kin upon your death it
might be less than you think. Please let us know in the Further Details section if you would like
further advice about the purchase of freehold or extending your lease.
If you are a member of a company insurance or pension scheme the entitlement to benefits on
death will depend on the rules of the scheme and may not fall into your estate for probate
purposes. You should consult the relevant provider for further details.
Please give details of your main assets and their approximate values where indicated. A properly
prepared Will can help in minimizing the impact of taxation on your estate. Please also indicate
whether you would like advice regarding Inheritance Tax in the Further Details section. If you are
requesting advice, please also indicate whether you have made any gifts in the last 7 years in the
Further Details section. Unless you specifically ask us to advise on Inheritance Tax matters then
for the present purposes we are not advising on Inheritance Tax or on any other tax implications
of your affairs but are simply preparing as basic will in accordance with your instructions and we
shall assume that you are taking separate advise on tax planning.
Please also let us know in the Further Details section whether you have a business or any foreign
property or assets abroad.
One person can act on their own as an executor but it is usually best to appoint two people. You
can appoint substitute executors to act if your first appointed executor is unable or unwilling to
act. An example of this would be where you appoint your husband/wife/partner as executor and
leave everything to them. If they then predecease you, you will have a substitute executor to take
over that role, in addition to substitute provisions as to who your estate is left to. Alternatively you
can have up to a maximum of four executors. This ensures that there will be a substitute in the
event of one of the executors dying or being unable to act or if in your Will you are providing gifts
to be managed for the benefit of other people (known as trusts) then the same people can
continue to act as executors and trustees (you will need at least two executors for a trust).
It is best to choose a business-like person to act as an executor. It is possible to appoint a spouse
or friends and relatives. It is best also from a practical point of view to choose someone local as
there will be a number of practicalities to attend to. You can appoint a professional person such
as your Solicitor or Accountant. We will of course charge for the work but this would be no more
than any professional would charge if appointed to act in the administration of the estate by your
chosen executors. A lay person appointed as executor can claim their expense but are not paid
for the work they do although you can leave them a gift in your Will.
We would be pleased to act as your executors. If you wish us to act as your executors, please
indicate on the form.
Whoever you choose to appoint as executor should be asked if they agree and are willing to act
before you appoint them.
If you have children under the age of 18, you may wish to appoint a person(s) to look after your
children in the event that both you and your spouse/partner die. You may wish to appoint
substitute guardians in case the guardians you have appointed initially die or are unable to act.
The guardian may be the same person as the executor, or whoever you wish.
Please remember to check with the guardian that they are happy to act as becoming a guardian
is a very big commitment that should only be undertaken after consideration.
5. SPECIFIC GIFTS
If you wish to give a sum of money or a gift ( such as jewellery, personal belongings, etc) please
state the amount or give a precise description of the article as the full name and address of the
beneficiary (the person you are giving it to). Please note 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, then that specific gift to the beneficiary will fail. In this instance, instead of
giving a precise description of the article you may wish to make it more general, for example,
rather than “my Cartier watch” you may state “any watch or watches I own at my death.”
The residue is the rest of your estate after the specific gifts, any costs, tax and other expenses
have been met. It is important to have not only a provision for a beneficiary to receive the residue
but also a substitution in the event that they may have predeceased you. Please choose of one
the options as to how you would like your residuary estate to be dealt with. If options 1-4 do not
apply, please specify in Option 5, how you would like your estate to be dealt with.
You may choose the age at which your children will receive their entitlement. This can be, for
example, 18, 21 or 25. If there are gifts to your children, we may suggest a provision that if any of
them dies before you, leaving children of his/her own, these children (your grandchildren) will
inherit their parent’s share. If you would like this provision, please indicate in the Further Details
section. Alternatively you may wish that if any of your children dire before you, then their share
will be split between the surviving children. Again, please indicate your wishes in the Further
7. FUNERAL DIRECTIONS
You may wish to include instructions regarding your funeral in your Will. Please be aware that
such instructions have no legal effect but it would be hoped that your executors would carry out
your wishes. You should make these wishes known to your immediate family and your executors
and not rely on what is in your Will.
8. L ASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY
It is advisable that as well as making a Will you should always consider making a Lasting Power
of Attorney at the same time to ensure that you and your affairs can be looked after by a “trusted”
individual(s) during your lifetime if ever you should lose capacity to manage your own affairs or
property. A person can only give a Power of Attorney if they understand what they are signing. If
this is left too late, the only way someone can deal with your affairs is by application to the Court
of Protection, which may be prohibitively expensive. A Lasting Power of Attorney is therefore
effective insurance that if you lose capacity, you will have someone who can take charge of your
affairs. If you would like to discuss this or require any further information, please indicate on the
9. We will review your questionnaire and draft your Will based on the information provided. If you
have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.