Our Wills start at just £99, and we don’t charge extra for couples making joint or mirrored Wills.
An executor is a person or company you name within your Will; it is their duty to carry out your instructions and manage your affairs when you have died.
At least one executor, two if you have minor children, and there is no maximum. However, only four people can act as an executor at one time. We recommend you name at least two.
In short, yes. The role of executor is commonly performed by members of your family or close friends, who are also likely to be beneficiaries of your Will. They will not lose their inheritance by acting as an executor.
You must sign and date your Will in the presence of two witnesses. Both witnesses must then sign and date the Will. It is crucial you sign your Will correctly to ensure its validity.
Anyone can act as a witness, as long as they are over the age of 18 and not benefiting from your Will. We recommend using neighbours, work colleagues or friends. Anyone can act as a witness, as long as they are over the age of 18 and not benefiting from your Will. We recommend using neighbours, work colleagues or friends. For more information, read our article ‘Who can witness a Will’
Your Will remains valid; however, the beneficiary who acted as a witness will lose their inheritance. It is important to note that if a spouse or partner of a beneficiary acts as a witness, the beneficiary will also lose their inheritance.
In the unlikely event that you and all your beneficiaries die together, a disaster clause will ensure that your assets still pass according to your wishes, for example, to a charity of your choice. If you fail to include a disaster clause, your assets will pass according to the rules of intestacy.
This is referred to as ‘ruling from the grave’ and is not legally binding – your beneficiaries can do whatever they wish with their inheritance.
Yes, you can exclude anyone from your Will as long as they are not dependent on you. We recommend including a letter of non-inheritance explaining why you are disinheriting them. Although this letter is stored with your Will, its content will not be made public.
A legal guardian is a person that you have named within your Will. This title gives them the authority and responsibility to care for your minor children. If you have not nominated a legal guardian, then the courts will decide who cares for your children. For more information, read our article on guardianship and Wills.
You will die ‘intestate’. This means that a set of rules, known as the rules of intestacy, will determine who inherits from your estate. These rules might not be in line with your actual wishes. For more information, read our article ‘What Happens if You Die Without a Will?’
We advise you to review your Will every 3 to 5 years. However, there are certain life events that always warrant an update. For example, marriage or civil partnership, the birth of a child, the death of a beneficiary or a recent property purchase. For more information, read our article ‘A Complete Guide to Updating Your Will’.
Your Will must be kept safe to ensure there is no question of its validity. Furthermore, it is essential that your executors know the location of your Will so they may access it after your passing. We highly advise against storing your Will at home, as it is more likely to be damaged or lost. For more information and recommendations on where to store your Will, read our article ‘Where Should I Store My Will?’
If the beneficiary was your child, the gift automatically passes to their children unless your Will says otherwise. If a gift fails because you have not named an alternative beneficiary, it will fall into your residue (the remainder of your estate after all other debts and gifts have been paid). If no one is left to benefit from the residue, the assets are distributed according to the intestacy rules.
Probate is a court order that grants an executor the authority to manage the deceased’s affairs and distribute their assets according to their Will. It is not always needed and can be defined as a fraud prevention tool.
At ELM, we take your instructions in as little as 60 minutes. These instructions are then sent to our head office, where our legal team will carefully draft your Will, ready to be sent out to you within 30 working days of the original appointment for signing and witnessing. In the event that you require your Will urgently, we can have your documents returned to you in 7 days for a small additional fee.
We will include a read-over clause in your Will and read the document out to you for your approval before signing.
You may sign the Will with a mark intended to be a signature, or it can be signed by someone else under your direction.
It is a tax that must be paid out of your estate after passing. If the value of your estate is over the minimum £325,000 threshold, you must pay 40% of everything over that sum. Some gifts are exempt from inheritance tax, and you may gain an additional £175,000 tax-free allowance by leaving your house to your children. Please seek advice if you have inheritance tax concerns.
If you wish to make changes to your Trust in the future regarding any of the following, we require a written, signed letter from you and your Trustees to express your new wishes and state you are all in agreement with the decision.
Common changes might include:
A new Trustee needs to be added (Photo ID of the new Trustee is also required)
A Trustee is now bankrupt or wishes to be removed from the Trust
Adding a new property to the Trust
Removing the property from the Trust
If you wish to sell your property, you and your Trustees need to be included in the sale. We DO NOT need to remove the property from the Trust first. Removing the property from the Trust can cause a lengthy delay in the sale.
If you wish to sell your property personally, we can remove it from the Trust if you specifically request this; Trustee minutes and a new TR1 will be drafted for all Trustees to sign. Once we receive these documents, we can lodge the request with the Land Registry. This process can be extremely lengthy, as we will be reliant on the Land Registry transferring the title back. This process is currently taking the Land Registry 9-12 months. You will only be able to proceed with a sale of the property after the property is back in your sole name(s).
Unfortunately, this timescale is beyond our control, as we rely on the Land Registry’s processing times.
If your Trustee has changed their name or address, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the new details of the individual for our records. We will require written proof of a name change (e.g., a marriage certificate, deed poll etc.) The Trust will not be updated at the Land Registry, but the information will be kept on file.
As your property is in Trust and your Trustees hold the legal title, obtaining a mortgage or completing an equity release will not be possible.
To obtain a mortgage, we will need a signed letter from all the Trustees confirming this step; then, we will need to revert the property into your sole name(s).
Trustee minutes and a new TR1 will be drafted for all Trustees to sign. Once we receive these documents, we can lodge the request with the Land Registry. This process can be extremely lengthy, as we will be reliant on the Land Registry transferring the title back. This process is currently taking the Land Registry 9-12 months. You will only be able to complete the mortgage application after the property is back in your sole name(s).
Unfortunately, this timescale is beyond our control, as we rely on the Land Registry’s processing times.
Please bear this in mind if you are considering an equity release or mortgage on your property; or wish to make any other amendments that will affect the Land Registry title.
If you want to dissolve the Trust, we can complete this for you. We will need instructions signed by the Trustees; we will then prepare the paperwork to remove the property from the Trust and dissolve it.
Trustee minutes and a new TR1 will be drafted for all Trustees to sign. Once we receive these documents, we can lodge the request with the Land Registry. This process can be extremely lengthy, as we will be reliant on the Land Registry transferring the title back. This process is currently taking the Land Registry 9-12 months. The Trust can only be dissolved after the property is back in your sole name(s).
An LPA is the most hassle-free way to ensure that your family members have the power to make decisions on your behalf. These decisions are about Property and Finance and Health and Welfare should you ever lose mental capacity (the ability to make decisions yourself). For more information, read our article on why you might need an LPA.
If you lose mental capacity without an LPA, a family member needs to apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy for you. This is a very costly and time-consuming route.
You can have between one and four attorneys. It is usually a good idea to have at least two so that if one passes or moves away you do not need to create new documents.
Do not worry if it is not practicable to sign your documents on the same day as your attorneys. They need to sign their sections either with or after you so we can send the documents to your attorneys to sign later if necessary.
It is not impossible to have an attorney who lives abroad but strongly advised that you appoint someone based in the UK and who would be on-hand to take care of your affairs and deal with UK organisations quickly if the need arose.
A witness can be anyone over 18 with mental capacity, as long as they are not one of your attorneys. It is often convenient to use your certificate provider also as a witness.
A Certificate Provider is a person vouching that, at the time of signing the documents, you have mental capacity. They can either be a solicitor or other professional with the relevant professional skills to assess capacity or someone who has known the donor (you) personally for at least two years. They should not have ANY family connection with you, not be a business partner or an attorney, not be anyone in a care home where you or a family member lives. A close friend or neighbour who you have known for at least two years is an ideal Certificate Provider or your consultant/lawyer.
Newly registered LPAs can be activated online with an activation code that the OPG provides. The steps for doing this are laid out on the government website. Alternatively, they can be taken to the relevant organisations to show evidence that a valid LPA is in place.