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  Where there’s a Will

As with Powers of Attorney, if you do not have a Will, write it now.

If you do not make your own Will, other people or the law will decide what happens to your property – and your remains.

A lot of tax could be deducted from your estate and people whom you do not even know could benefit.



Make a Will and make it now.

If you have a straightforward case, it is not difficult, you do not need a lawyer and you do not need to register it or pay anything other than the cost of a form from a newsagents’.  You don’t even need that. For a really cut-price Will, you can download a template off the internet for free. All you need are two witnesses, you need to date it and a place to store it. Although if you want to be absolutely secure in what you have done or have a complex situation, it is best to take advice.


If you do not make a Will:

  • Any family member, however distant, could make a claim on your estate;

  • You could end up being cremated, when you want to be buried or vice versa;

  • Your possessions could end up in a skip or with a comparative stranger;

  • You could end up with large sums in a tax being deducted. from your estate.


Some general misconceptions about Wills:

  • You need to have a solicitor to write one. You don’t. All you need is a form and two witnesses;

  • Your executors must agree to be named. They don’t, although it is advisable to ask if they are willing to act;

  • Your executors cannot benefit from the Will. They can. In fact, in many cases, the executors are the main beneficiaries;

  • You must have two executors. You don’t. You can have one or more;


  • Your next of kin will inherit everything, so why bother. They won’t automatically. Other family members could take court action.



Everyone always says that trouble follows when someone dies. A key reason for this, however, is because of the way the Will was written. Singling out certain children or grandchildren/nieces or nephews or promising and not delivering is bound to cause trouble.  If you’re writing your Will and want to be remembered fondly, above all be fair.



Do not:


  • Use your Will to make a ‘point’. If you want to make a point, open a Twitter account. Wills which are used to make a point leave everyone concerned with unhappy memories of the deceased and often cause family rifts and end up in the Courts;

  • Single out ‘favoured’ nephews or grand-daughters. Unless they have really been your main support, this is not fair. Everyone else will be hurt and will probably hate the ‘heir’. Remember, the favoured one has probably only been phoning you to inherit;


  • Try to guess how much people need, before dividing up the spoils. You never know the financial position of others. You could end up leaving everything to someone who does not need it or leave someone nothing who is in financial need;

  • Give verbal promises to anyone. If you want to leave them something, put it in your Will. If it’s not in the Will, you cannot be sure they will get it, whether it is the grandfather clock or £20,000;

  • Trust someone to carry out your wishes. Very risky. If you haven’t got a Will, you won’t have a say and they can do what they like;

  • Forget to update your Will. For instance, if you are predeceased by one of your children, their share will not automatically go to their family;

  • Forget to sign your Will or to leave it in a safe place – where the executors know it is;

  • Forget to get the witnesses to sign the Will. It is not valid, if it has not been witnessed.



  • Be fair. That way you are most likely to leave a contented, happy family;

  • Get approval from your executors that they are happy to act;

  • Remember to say what you want in terms of a funeral.

Don't single out favourites. They may just be calling to inherit

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