This site is intended to give you guidance and support at very difficult time. The information is provided on an "as is" basis. We advise all readers and members to seek professional legal and financial help where necessary. Everyone's position is different and M & A Media ltd can not be help responsible for action's based on the information gained.
If in doubt you should consult a professional.
Testator: the person who wrote a will of testament
Testate: to die without leaving a will.
A Will should be completed by someone for the peace of mind of their friends and families. It is a legal declaration of how the "testator" would like their finances and estate handled after their death. The "testator" is the person who wrote the Will.
A person who dies without a Will is termed as died 'intestate'. See below for advice on intestate deaths.
To make a Will legal the following must be in place.
- The Will must clearly show the name of the testator.
- The Will must state it revokes any previous Will and be dated.
- The Testator must be of "sound mind", and does so willingly.
- The document must be signed and dated by the Testator and a witness. The witness needs to state their full name, sign, date and add their full address.
- Beneficiaries must be clearly stated including their full name, date of birth and address.
- More than one executor may be named in the Will.
Where is the will?
Locating a Will is an essential step in settling a person's estate.
Wills can be kept at home, lodged with solicitor or bank or lodged at Government law courts.
Best practice is to keep a copy at home and one with your solicitor or First Avenue House – see this Direct.gov webpage for details.
It is common courtesy to inform your executors that they have been named in the Will.
If a Will cannot be found then the dead person's estate is termed to be intestate.
If person dies intestate, don't panic there are simple rules that apply although it will take longer to settle a persons estate.
The law will decide who will be the beneficiaries of the estate. A more detailed explanation can be found here.
1. Married or civil partnership with children.
The partner gets the first £250,000 and all personal possessions. Assets like house and bank accounts and stocks get divided in half with surviving children when they reach 18, assets are held in trust for the life of the surviving partner.
2. Married or civil partnership
Partner is entitled to first £450,000 and all personal possessions; other assets are divided between the partner and surviving relatives.
3. Unmarried partner with children:
Children and grandchildren will be entitled to the estate once any outstanding debts have been repaid.
4. Unmarried partner, no children or grandchildren.
The estate gets divided up between surviving relatives.
If you have any questions about Wills consult a professional or ask a question in our Forum.
If you have a Will the process is straightforward but the time it takes to settle will depend on your individual circumstances.
Follow our Checklist in the member's forum.
If you can't find the Will there is still a process to follow and all is not lost.
Consult a professional adviser or ask questions in our Forum.
As with most difficult things in life, tackle one thing at a time, take your time and seek advice if you need it. Be realistic about timescales, most estates are settled with in 6-9 months.