By: Simon B
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Wills, Probate and Inheritance
This advice could be helpful if you are looking to make a Will, or if you are faced with dealing with the estate of someone who has passed away.
Making a Will
Writing a Will can spare your surviving family members a great deal of difficulty when you pass away by specifying exactly what you wish to happen when you die. It also allows you to make sure that your estate is passed on to the people and organisations that you care about most.
This section contains advice on:
- Reasons as to why you should make a Will, and how it will help your survivors
- The sorts of things that you can specify in your Will
- The different ways to create a Will, with the pros and cons of each one (such as cost and efficiency)
- How to make changes to your Will, and when this needs to be done
- How you can store your Will to keep it safe
What to do when a loved one dies
Losing a loved one can make for a very difficult time, and this can be made even more difficult if you need to worry about contacting organisations to notify them of the death, as well as dealing with other administrative and legal duties. This section provides a helpful rundown of things that you need to remember, including:
- How to register a death, and what documents you will need
- Things that you might need to cancel, such as their passport, their driving licence, and any benefits they might have been receiving
- Who you will need to contact to get different things cancelled, and how to access the “Tell Us Once” service, which could do this on your behalf
- Information on funeral law
- How to get time off work to deal with a death
Probate is the process of executing someone’s estate after they die – it includes distributing their estate, taking care of tax, and dealing with other duties.
Probate can be difficult to handle alone, and this section deals with the main things you will need to consider when taking care of probate, including:
- How to find the Will of someone who has died
- How to obtain the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
- What to do if there is no Will
- Information on inheritance tax
Intestacy occurs if someone dies without a valid Will, and without any legally-binding information on how the estate should be distributed, the estate will be allocated to immediate family members under the strict rules of intestacy.
Our intestacy guide can tell you what you need to know about:
- What intestacy is and how it can happen
- Who will benefit under the rules of intestacy, and who will not
- How someone who would not usually benefit in cases of intestacy can apply for financial provision
Executors and Administrators
Executors and administrators are the people who will carry out probate following a death. The two roles are quite similar, but they depend on what was specified in the Will. Executors can only be named in the Will, however, if there were no named executors, or if there was no valid Will, an administrator or administrators must take care of the estate.
This section has information for those looking to make a Will and those who may have to act as an executor or administrator, including:
- Information on what an executor or administrator does
- How to pick executors for your Will
- Information on using a solicitor or accountant to execute your Will
Wills and Probate Terminology
Wills and probate aren’t as heavily loaded with jargon as some other areas of law, but there are some important terms that would be helpful to remember.
Beneficiary – Your beneficiaries are the people or organisations who will inherit something from your estate.
Intestate – When someone dies without a Will, they are said to have died intestate. Their estate must then be distributed under the Rules of Intestacy.
Codicil – A codicil can be made to a Will to add, change, or remove some aspect of a Will. This can be an alternative to completely replacing a Will, however, this is not recommended when making significant changes to a Will.
Testator – When talking about a Will, this is the person who has passed away.