FAQ

Simple Wills provide an on-line Will writing service. Simple Wills specialise in producing Wills and can also produce Powers of Attorney and Trusts.

Simple wills can produce a legally valid Will if you live in or have assets in Scotland, England or Wales.

No. If you live in England or Wales but have assets in another country, you need a Will written in accordance with the laws of that country. If you have assets in Scotland but do not live there, you need a Scottish Will too. Similarly if you have assets in England or Wales but do not live there you need an English/Welsh Will.

Yes. If you have a property at all or children, then you really need to make a Will.

Simple wills have a simple on-line process. You complete a questionnaire with the help of our guidance notes and a Will is produced for you. Our process asks the same questions you would be asked in a face to face meeting.

No. You will often see the option to write “Mirror Wills”. At Simple Wills we don’t restrict you to writing Mirror Wills. Married couples or couples in a Civil Partnership often have their own assets which they want to distribute differently to their partner. This is not a problem for Simple Wills. We believe that you should determine how your Will is written. You don’t have to write Mirror Wills simply because it suits us. Partners’ Wills can be very different to reflect their different wishes.

Yes. It is completely valid. We are on hand to make sure that it is in the correct, legally binding format. A Simple Wills Will uses clauses which are accepted by the Courts. The clauses have been constructed by some of the best respected legal minds in the Will writing industry.

As we said, our clauses are written by legal authorities in the Will writing industry. A solicitor will ask you the same questions as our on-line Will writing process will ask and will very possibly be using the same clauses as Simple Wills use in the Will it prepares for you. Why pay more for the same product?

No. A Will needs some very basic ingredients. It needs a testator (the person making the Will) who is of sound mind and of a legal age to make a Will, Executors who can ensure that the estate is distributed in accordance with the instructions of the Will, a clear definition of the estate and beneficiaries. It then needs to be signed, dated and witnessed. Because of the logical process required in the construction of the Will and because the basic requirements of so many people are similar, it lends itself very well to the on-line process.

We provide clear guidance notes to ensure your Simple Wills Will has been signed and witnessed correctly. You can also send us a copy of the signing page and we will confirm that it is in order.

Anyone of sound mind who is not under undue influence and who is over the age of majority (16 in Scotland, 18 in England and Wales.

One in Scotland, 2 in England and Wales.

No. A witness cannot be someone who will benefit from the Will nor be related to someone who will benefit. If this happens, the intended beneficiary would lose their inheritance. A witness cannot be blind, mentally incapable or under the age of majority.

A legacy is property which is specified in a Will which is left to a beneficiary or beneficiaries. It could be money, property (a house etc.) or other possessions.

If an estate is above a certain level, the implementation of the Will has to be confirmed by the Court. The Court officially confirms the appointment of the nominated Executors which then gives them the authority to gather in the assets and do things like arrange the sale of assets and gather in the money which is realised. In Scotland it is known as Executry and in England and Wales it is known as Probate. Although the terminology is different the processes have many similarities. Very often the executors will enlist the help of solicitors to wind the estate up. If you are not careful, this can be very expensive and solicitors can take a significant percentage of the estate in fees. We have an agreement of a maximum fee with the technical executors we recommend in Simple wills that they will charge to ensure that you get a good deal at this difficult time.

You may see this term in your will. The residue is simply what is left to distribute after all the legacies have been paid out.

We recommend that you leave legacies in your Will as general as possible. For example, you want to leave your nephew £5000. You have £5000 in bank account number 00123456 which you specify is to be left to your nephew. However, before you died you used the £5000 in that particular account to help you buy a new car. There is still £5000 available once all your assets have been realised but because you stated specifically that you wished your nephew to have the amount in that bank account, that is what he will get and in this case it is now nothing.

Not necessarily. If, for example, the person wishing to make the Will is blind, it would be necessary to arrange a face to face meeting. Also, family circumstances could be such that more advice is needed. A Will on its own might not serve the purpose. We can provide advice on whether you should arrange a face to face visit and we can arrange for an experienced Will professional to contact you. However, the vast majority of cases are straightforward and a Simple Wills Will will do a perfect job for them. Sometimes you may think your situation is complicated but in fact it is straightforward and with a little help from us you can use the Simple Wills on-line Will writing process.

Once you have taken the wise decision to arrange your Will on-line with Simple Wills, you want to make sure it can be found when it is needed. If a Will cannot be found, is lost or destroyed or even defaced, then effectively there is no Will and all your good work will be undone. That’s why it is so important to store your Will professionally. Click here to see the benefits of Simple Wills’ Secure Lifetime Wills Service.

They very well might but not without having to go through a lengthy legal process at a time they are least able to face it. Anyone who has experienced the loss of a child who has died without a Will will tell you that it is not a pleasant process. Make a Will for your parents’ sake.

Not necessarily. Unless you are married or are in a legally recognised Civil Partnership then your partner has no automatic legal rights. Instead of everything going to your partner, there is every chance it will go to your parents or brothers and sisters before them. If you have life assurances, the benefit will not necessarily go to your partner. You need to make sure with a Will.

Many couples now live together without entering into a marriage and have children. Unless certain conditions are satisfied (link to Guardianship rules) a biological father does not have automatic parental responsibility. It is therefore essential to nominate him as the guardian in the event of the mother’s death.

No. There are rules which apply (link to rules on intestacy).

Even although you have no obvious beneficiaries, do you really want to leave it to the Government to decide how your estate is spent? Far better, surely, to know that your estate will benefit a person or body that you want.

A Power of Attorney is a document which specifies a person or persons to look after your affairs if you can’t. The terminology is slightly different from country to country but basically you can appoint an Attorney to look after your financial affairs, your health and welfare or both.

A Trust is a legal document that allows you to pass the ownership of your assets away from your name but still retain control. It has many advantages and can protect against creditors, drastically reduces the costs of Probate/Executry and speeds up the process. A Trust lasts for 125 years in England and Wales and 80 years in Scotland. Therefore generations of a family can gain the benefit.
There are many types of Trust and they are becoming an increasingly popular and cost effective tool in financial and estate planning.

Legal Rights apply in Scotland. It is often thought that you could disinherit a spouse or a child by writing a Will. However, this is not necessarily true in Scotland. Even with a Will in place, a spouse or children can be legally entitled to a share of your estate and if they do not receive that in your Will they could successfully challenge it. (Link to Scottish intestacy rules). However, it is possible to circumvent Legal Rights by transferring your assets into a Trust. Contact us for a discussion if you feel that is a situation which would apply to you.

No. This is a common misconception. Even if a couple have lived together for many years, the other partner has no automatic rights unless there is a legally recognised partnership. If you have been living together without being in a marriage or Civil Partnership it is essential to have a Will

No. You can only prevent your home being taken into account in the assessment of your ability to pay for your care by careful planning well in advance of any need for care. Talk to us and we can give you advice in this area.

No. That is a very bad idea which would not work anyway and which is fraught with dangers for you. Many people are under the impression that so long as they do this more than seven (7) years before they go into care their home will be protected. This is not the case. The Local Authority has the power to look at transactions like that as far back as they want to go and if it is obvious that the only reason it was done was to avoid care costs, they will still take the house into account when assessing your ability to pay.

Inheritance Tax is a tax you pay on death if your estate is over a certain limit (currently £325,000). The current rate of tax is 40% on the amount above the limit. For example if you die and your estate is worth £500000, the inheritance tax your estate would have to pay is £70000 ((£500000 - £325000) = £175000 x 40% = £70000). If a spouse dies, their allowance (or the balance remaining) can be passed on to the surviving spouse. When the surviving spouse then dies, the estate would have to exceed £650000 before Inheritance Tax is payable.

: A Liferent is when you give someone the right to live in a property after your death without their ever owning it. It is appropriate, for example, where a couple might be in their second marriage living in a property that one partner owns. When the owner partner dies, they want the survivor to be able to remain in the property but want the ownership to pass to their own children when the surviving partner dies.

In practice, the maximum number is four (4). A Will is often set up with a spouse as the first choice executor. We always recommend a technical executor as they will always be around. If you appoint only one executor or executors who are significantly older and are likely to predecease you, there is a danger that they will not be around when needed. If this happens and your executors have died, the Will is invalid and you have died intestate (without a Will).

You can have as many attorneys as you like. However, you should think about the practicalities. Having a large number of attorneys could lead to disputes and generally be unwieldy. We would normally recommend one attorney with a substitute if they cannot act or two attorneys who can act individually or jointly.