1. What is a will?
Wills are legal documents that are used to decide what happens to your estate (properties, money, valuables and possessions) as well as your loved ones after you pass away.
A will for a single individual is referred to as a single will and is suitable for those who want their own personal wishes followed.
2. What can I use a single will for?
With a single will, you are able to:
- Select individuals that you trust to care for children younger than 18, known as guardians.
- Choose individuals that you trust to carry out wishes that you outline in your will, referred to as executors.
- Declare the people and/or charities that will receive assets from your estate, known as beneficiaries.
- Gift possessions or financial assets to loved ones, known as legacies.
- Communicate your last wishes, concerning funeral and burial arrangements.
Without a will in place, you lose the right to decide how your children/pets are cared for, who receives what from your estate and how it is divided up.
3. How much does a single will cost?
Preparing a single will with Zen Legal costs £199. Our main priority is to support you to get the protection in place for your legacy. If you need to spread the payments over 3 months we have a payment plan available to make it more affordable.
4. Can an executor also be a beneficiary?
Yes. Provided the executor is chosen as a beneficiary, they are just as able to receive gifts as anyone else written into the will. It should be important to find out first if they are a good choice for someone to carry out your wishes after your passing.
5. What if I don’t have anything worth leaving?
Even if you don’t have anything worth preserving in a will right now, this can change in the future. A will allocates all of your assets (bank accounts, valuables, children and properties) upon your passing, not at the time the will is written.
6. What if I have young children?
Before preparing a will, you should always think about who you want to care for your children if you pass away. If your children are currently under the age of 18, you can select a guardian to care for them in your will. This person will only become a guardian if there is no other parent to care for them when you die.
In addition, children can also be chosen as beneficiaries of your estate regardless of their age. If they are younger than 18, you can decide the age that they can access their inheritance. Before the children reach the decided age, their inheritance is kept in a trust to be managed by people chosen in your will to be trustees.
7. Can I make funeral wishes in my will?
Yes you can include preferences and wishes for how your funeral is prepared. Unfortunately however, these preferences are not legally binding and can be ignored by your executors.
8. Do I need a beneficiary to be a witness when making a will?
No, having a beneficiary or their significant other witness the signing can cause a will to become invalid.
9. Can someone contest my will?
Yes it is possible to contest a will, although the success of attempting this is varied.
Unless you purposefully exclude a family member from your will that would expect to benefit from your estate, it is highly unlikely that it’s validity would be contested. It is also possible to contest a will if there is reason to believe that you either lack mental capacity or have been coerced into signing by someone who will benefit.
An excellent way to avoid being successfully challenged on your will is to seek professional solicitors to guide you through the drafting process. A will that has been professionally drafted will be more secure to potential challenges in the future.
If you are intentionally planning to exclude loved ones from your will, you should also notify them and your wider family prior to signing the will. This can make your wishes clear before you pass.