Frequently asked questions
These are some of the most common questions we get asked. If you find that after looking through these questions you still have further enquiries, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens with my pension when I die?
There are many types of pension plans and you should make specific inquiries to determine what will happen with your pension upon your death.
What happens with insurance proceeds when I die?
The death benefit payable under a life insurance policy is received by the deceased’s estate or by one or more named Beneficiaries. Insurance proceeds left to your estate are then dealt in your Will. Insurance proceeds left to a specific named beneficiary do not form part of your estate and pass directly to the named beneficiary.
Does marriage, re-marriage or divorce affect my Will?
Getting married or divorced may automatically revoke your Will. Please ask us for our fact sheet.
How do my debts affect my Will?
Your debts are paid from your estate prior to distribution to your Beneficiaries.
Are my debts forgiven when I die?
One of the duties of an executor is to determine the debts, including taxes, of the deceased person. The executor must determine what debts you have and must satisfy those debts, including taxes, from the proceeds of your estate prior to distributing your estate to your beneficiaries.
What if there is not enough property to fulfil my wishes after my death?
If there are not enough assets to fulfil your wishes regarding specific bequests of cash, these bequests will be reduced proportionately. If there are only enough assets to deal with your specific bequests, the person(s) you leave the balance of your Estate to will receive nothing.
Does my age matter?
You must be at least 18 years old to prepare a valid, legally-binding Will.
What happens if I do not complete my Will properly?
It is extremely important that your Will be completed properly.
If your Will is not completed properly, there is a risk the Will will not be valid. If that happens, it is equivalent to dying without a Will, i.e. Intestate, and English law applies, distributing your estate in accordance with the formulas of the laws of the land. These laws are inflexible and may not reflect your personal wishes or the needs of your loved ones.
Can people challenge my decisions after my death?
It is always possible that people may challenge a Will after your death. Such challenges are generally based on the argument that you were not mentally competent, or that others pressured you at the time your Will was made. While these challenges are generally unsuccessful, you should seek legal advice if you feel someone may challenge your will.
Where should I keep my Will?
Your Will must be kept in a safe place and your Executors need to know where it is and how they can get access to it when needed.
Most of our client chose to keep their Will in our safe and secure storage facility.
Should anyone know that I have made a Will?
Yes. You should tell your Executor that you have prepared a Will. You may also want to tell your loved ones.
When can I change my will?
Your Will can be changed at any time by making a new will which will supersede the old one.
I have a Power of Attorney. Do I still need a Will?
Enduring Powers of Attorney have now been replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney. A Power of Attorney comes to an end on your death.
A Will is needed to deal with distribution of your assets on death.
Who will look after my children/dependants if I die without a Will?
If you have children and die without a Will nominating a Guardian for your under-age children, English law applies. Typically, the law provides for the child’s surviving parent to take custody of your child but ultimately, the decision is up to the Court relying on what the judge feels is most appropriate for the surviving child. A relative, or other person, can apply to the Court for an Order appointing them as Guardian. Completing a Will and nominating a Guardian provides the greatest assurance that control and custody of your children is granted to the individual(s) you prefer.
Can my Will cover my entire estate?
Possibly not. There are many assets that may not pass to your intended Beneficiaries if they are not solely owned. For this reason it is important that you create an inventory as part of your overall estate planning. This way you can be sure that all of your assets will go to those you intend. Below we briefly summarise some specific examples of property that does not pass through a Will. If you have any questions, a financial Adviser, or estate planning professional can help you understand your own personal situation.
Some of your assets will pass outside of your Will because Beneficiaries are already named for them. For example, most individuals have already named Beneficiaries for their life insurance policies, pensions, retirement plans, and certain annuities.
If your property is held with another individual jointly and that co-owner survives you, it will not pass through your Will: joint owners with right of survivor-ship (usually spouses), tenants by entirety (spousal property) and revocable or irrevocable trusts.
What happens if I die without a Will?
If you die without a valid Will the outcome could be a legal and financial nightmare and an emotionally-devastating experience for your loved ones. Not having a Will at the time of death is called being Intestate. It means you have not left instructions.
What is Probate?
A Court proceeding in which the validity of a Will is established and the appointment of the Executor(s) confirmed.