Make a Will Online with GlossLegal

FAQs about Making a Will Online

Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are listed below:

  1. What is a Will?
  2. What happens if I do not have a Will?
  3. I am not wealthy, do I need a Will?
  4. Why use glossLegal? Is it legal?
  5. Is there any risk drafting a Will online with glossLegal? Is glossLegal 100% reliable and valid?
  6. How does glossLegal work?
  7. Do I need a solicitor?
  8. Why is glossLegal better than other Will drafting services?
  9. How much does glossLegal charge for a Will?
  10. Can I just write my own Will?
  11. Who can write a Will and can I leave what I have to anyone? Can I leave people out of my Will?
  12. When can I make a Will?
  13. Is there anything I cannot leave in my Will?
  14. What happens if a Will is not made correctly? Can it be challenged or contested?
  15. What to do before writing my Will? What do I need?
  16. What are witnesses? Do I need them?
  17. Who are Executors? Are they the same as Trustees?
  18. Can an Executor of my Will be a Beneficiary?
  19. What Tax applies on death? What is Inheritance Tax and how does it affect the drafting of my Will?
  20. In what countries is my Will valid?
  21. I own a foreign property; can I use glossLegal to make a Will?
  22. What happens on marriage, divorce and separation?
  23. How long is my Will valid for?
  24. What happens if somebody I leave something to in my Will dies before me?
  25. Do I need to set up a Trust?
  26. How do I ensure that my children are provided for financially?
  27. Do I need a Joint Will? What is it?
  28. We are Partners or Married. What are Mirror Wills?
  29. What do Guardians do?
  30. What is the term Tenants in Common and how does it affect making a Will?
  31. What does Intestate mean?
  32. What is Probate?
  33. Can I make a Will in Scotland?

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1. What is a Will?

A Will is a document which you create to give directions for the distribution of the assets you own on death/your property (that is, your property also commonly called your Estate) to Beneficiaries. The Will indicates who will manage your estate (the Executor(s) of your Will) and, if need be, appoints Guardians to look after minor children when both parents have died.

A Will is therefore a very important document and everyone over the age of 18 years should make one. It provides certainty and comfort to those who survive.

For a Will to be effective and recognised by the UK government it must conform to certain legal conditions (as per the Wills Act 1837) and be signed by the person (testator) making the Will in front of two adult independent witnesses present at the same time.

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2. What happens if I do not have a Will?

Without a Will, you will leave your loved ones with far more work to do after your death and it is highly likely that your possessions will not be distributed the way you want. With no recognised document for the administration or distribution of your possessions, your family will not have control.

Instead, the government has laid down rules (called intestacy rules) which state who has formal authority to act on the administration of your estate (known as Administrators as opposed to Executors who are named in a Will). The government rules also stipulate who will receive/inherit. It is unlikely this will match your own thoughts and it typically results in negative tax consequences, heartache, and lost time and money. A partner may not receive anything, a house could be split, children receive at the age of 18 and other wishes may not be followed.

To make sure you have a valid Will, it should be drafted properly, bound and signed in front of 2 witnesses – glossLegal supply a quality bound Will document mailed to you with proper signing instructions.

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3. I am not wealthy, do I need a Will?

The answer is YES. Anyone who owns property in their own name such as bank accounts, car, flat / house, furniture, life insurance, and death-in-service benefits (with work) etc. should have a Will. The Will states who looks after this property if you die and who will receive the benefit (see What is a will? and see What happens if I don’t have a Will?).

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4. Why use glossLegal? Is it legal?

Using glossLegal to create your Will allows you to get the right, quality, solicitor approved document unique to your needs. You can achieve this with great flexibility using our online high quality service and at the right price which is much lower than solicitor alternatives. glossLegal delivers Wills which have full legal effect ; they are all reviewed by our qualified and experienced solicitors. glossLegal’s key benefits are summarised below:

  • You can try our service for free ; see what your Will looks like before deciding to purchase it. There is NO financial commitment to the glossLegal’s Simple Questionnaire process and it can be abandoned at no cost at any time.
  • 100% legal under the laws of England and Wales;  Wills made by glossLegal meet the highest legal drafting standards.
  • All glossLegal Will documents are professionally bound and mailed to you along with the required signing and witnessing instructions to ensure your Will is valid.
  • Experienced team: Our team is one the most experienced in the UK and has drafted thousands of Wills. Our qualified solicitors systematically review each single Will. Our solicitors are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.
  • Easy to use: The glossLegal Simple Questionnaire is the most user-friendly online drafting service. We ask you questions and guide you through answers, you don’t have to fill out forms on your own, we will assist you step by step.
  • Superior customer service: At any time if you have any question, just ask our service team via phone or email.
  • We are a UK company based in London with qualified solicitors trained in City law firms.
  • Total flexibility: Start making your Will online, save it and finish it later.
  • Total privacy and security: our website and IT systems meet the highest security and data protection standards.
  • Attractive pricing: You will get a high quality Will, professionally bound and mailed to you. No hidden fees, no additional cost as you go. With glossLegal, you get the right document at the right price.
  • Our guarantee: 100% satisfaction or your money back.

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5. Is there any risk drafting a Will online with glossLegal? Is glossLegal 100% reliable and valid?

glossLegal have developed their Will service using decades of law experience of the founders and advanced technology. Therefore if a customer follows glossLegal’s Simple Questionnaire carefully and correctly they will be able to receive a properly bound and printed Will posted to them which has been produced with the highest levels of care and safety.

Unlike other online will service, at glossLegal we do NOT send cheap electronic attachments to customers for them to print off, staple and hope they meet Probate court requirements. We do not want customers to have that risk. Each Will is checked by a qualified solicitor, and we make sure the document posted to you is the same quality as those produced by solicitor firms, but at a fraction of the cost.

The reason for making a Will is to cover situations of the unexpected. You also need peace of mind that the Will is 100% safe and passes Probate Court requirements. glossLegal supply that, unlike so many on-line competitors.

We also provide high quality customer service and assistance with the whole process. All to make sure you get the right document and one which you can trust.

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6. How does glossLegal work?

Creating your Will online with glossLegal is as easy as 1 - 2 - 3:

Step 1: Follow our Simple Questionnaire

glossLegal have created a unique online process so that we can take your instructions for a new Will in a logical and helpful way. You are able to receive guidance and hints over who should be appointed, what should be considered and in what order. We ask specific questions and with your response we create a personalised and detailed Will. It usually takes about 15 minutes, uninterrupted, for the Simple Questionnaire to be completed.

Step 2: Review Your Will online – Order when Ready

At any time you can leave the Simple Questionnaire process to consider responses and then revisit at an appropriate time. An account is easily created to allow this. There is NO financial commitment to the Simple Questionnaire process.

Once the Simple Questionnaire has been completed, we provide a free instant summary of your instructions. If this summary shows incorrect instructions, or on reflection needs changing, then it is easy to make those changes. We also provide a detailed summary which shows the full spelling of all names and addresses. This will enable you to make absolutely sure that you have entered all information correctly and are fully satisfied.

If, and only if, you are satisfied with the whole Simple Questionnaire process, you proceed to checkout to make an online payment in a familiar way.

One of our qualified solicitors will review your document and let you know by email if you have made any mistakes or if any changes are required.

Step 3: Receive Your Will In the Post

Once your Will is ordered, we then undertake to print and bind your Will in a professional manner and send it to your UK mailing address within 2 working days, free of charge.

We send detailed instructions on how to correctly sign your Will in front of witnesses to make sure it is valid.

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7. Do I need a solicitor?

No, you do NOT need a solicitor or to go to a solicitor’s firm to draft a Will. However, it is important to be guided over the process of making a Will, as we do at www.glossLegal.co.uk, and for the document to be constructed in a logical and clear way.

The Will needs to be signed in accordance with our clear instructions in front of two adult witnesses. The witnesses do not need to be solicitors. They must not, however, be potential beneficiaries of your Will.

Will it be legal – do I need to worry? The Wills produced by glossLegal have been developed by solicitors with decades of experience. Using Internet technology, the costs of creating high quality documents has been driven down, but not at a compromise to safety. As long as instructions are entered carefully and signing procedures followed closely, your Will will be valid and it is in the correct format to be acceptable to UK Probate courts, unlike some on-line Will competitors where you just’ download’ a document, print and probably staple it, and hope the Probate court will accept it after your death.

When should I use a solicitor?  Legal advice is required when there are circumstances and issues for which customers need specific legal answers/solutions. Such instances typically arise where there are business/agricultural assets to consider, foreign elements or where the UK is not your permanent home, and multiple Wills to cover property located in different countries might be appropriate.

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8. Why is glossLegal better than other Will drafting services or a DIY/do-it-yourself Will?

Solicitor alternatives require full personal meetings, lengthy follow up documentation together with rates which can range from £100 to £400 per hour plus VAT. While this may be suitable for complex situations and large estates, or estates with foreign elements, this does mean a lot of expensive professional time to produce a document which won’t be any better than glossLegal’s.

DIY/Do it yourself forms from stationers, or their equivalent on-line variety, are unable to provide any meaningful guidance or drafting assistance and therefore the quality of the product can be both cheap and unsatisfactory thus creating significant potential risk for you and your loves ones (for more information, see Can’t I just write my own will without any help?)

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9. How much do glossLegal charge for a Will?

You can try glossLegal for free and review your own Will summary online before deciding to purchase.

View our highly competive prices.

There are NO hidden fees.

With glossLegal, you get the right document at the right price.

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10. Can I just write my own Will?

Under UK law, you can write a Will on your own. However, there are significant risks in writing your Will without any proper assistance:

  • A Will not made under the correct procedures and which does not conform to certain legal conditions will be declared invalid (all Wills on death go to a division of the High Court to be “validated”).
  • A Will that is not drafted clearly and logically is open to challenge and your wishes may be overruled. It may have completely unintended consequences over who exactly gets what, how the estate is administered and how inheritance tax is paid. The Will could also be contested by those 'Beneficiaries' who feel aggrieved as they feel they have not received what they should have had.
  • Additionally the Will is printed and bound to meet Probate Court requirements. It is not a cheap download for you to print and staple at home, which potentially results in a document unacceptable to the Probate Court.

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11. Who can write a Will and can I leave what I have to anyone? Can I leave people out of my Will?

In the UK only adults (aged 18 or over) can make a Will, with the exception of members of the armed services who are aged 16 or above.

Under UK law you have a lot of freedom to leave your estate to whoever you like. However, you need to be aware that legally you have to provide reasonable support to all people who are financially dependent on you (eg spouse, children etc.) and anyone you maintained/supported financially. This is governed by The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. If you do not provide reasonable support,your Will can be challenged by an application to the High Court.

The meaning of ‘reasonable financial provision’ will differ depending on the status of the applicant (the person who has not been ‘treated/looked after properly’). If the applicant is a spouse of the deceased, the test is: such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for a husband or wife to receive, whether or not that provision is required for their maintenance. In the case of any other applicant, including a former spouse of the deceased, ‘reasonable financial provision’ means such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case to receive for their maintenance.

This section below sets out the matters to which the Court is to have regard in all cases. Section 3(1) of the Act sets out the following:

“(1) Where an application is … as to make reasonable financial provision for the applicant … the Court … shall … have regard to the following matters, that is to say —

(a) the financial resources and financial needs which the applicant has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
(b) the financial resources and financial needs which any other applicant … has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
(c) the financial resources and financial needs which any beneficiary of the estate of the deceased has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
(d) any obligations and responsibilities which the deceased had towards any applicant … or towards any beneficiary of the estate of the deceased;
(e) the size and nature of the net estate of the deceased;
(f) any physical or mental disability of any applicant … or any beneficiary of the estate of the deceased;
(g) any other matter, including the conduct of the applicant or any other person, which in the circumstances of the case the court may consider relevant.”

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12. When can I make a Will?

You can make a Will if you are 18 or over (or 16 or over if you are a member of the armed forces) and if you have the mental capacity to make a Will. This means that you should understand what making a Will means, know what property you own and will be covered by your Will, and who should be named in your Will.

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13. Is there anything I cannot leave in my Will?

The answer is that you can name what you like in your Will, but if you do not actually own that asset/property then it will just be ignored. This will also cover assets/property which do not ‘pass under your Will’.

Where you own property as joint tenants (see Do I need a Joint Will? What is it?) then your share in the property passes to the co-owner and not ‘through the Will’. This is the same for joint assets such as a joint bank account.

You may also have sums which are payable out on death such as pension-death rights/death-in-service benefits with employers/life assurance policies. All these assets may be ‘written in trust’ or have certain rules relating to their schemes/contracts so they are paid to relatives automatically and not ‘pass under your Will’. To make sure what happens you should ask the pension provider/employer/life assurance company, especially as these may involve large sums of money.

Foreign property may also be inherited according to fixed government rules of that country, eg in certain percentages to children. This will need to be checked with the laws of that country.

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14. What happens if a Will is not made correctly? Can it be challenged or contested?

If a Will is not made correctly, eg if it has not been signed in accordance with the Wills Act 1837 in front of two adult independent witnesses present at the same time, or if it has been tampered with or makes no sense, then the government (a division of the High Court - Probate Registry) will fail to recognise it as a valid Will. The government will not issue a 'certificate' Grant of Probate which the Executors/Trustees require to authorize their appointment and carry out the instructions in the Will. In this situation a 'previous' Will might be seen as the valid Will, or if there is no 'previous' Will the person who has died is said to be intestate (they have no valid document to say what happens to their property on their death) and the administration and distribution of the estate is carried out in accordance with government ‘Intestacy Rules’ which are inflexible and take no account of any personal preferences or desires.

Apart from a Will not being accepted as valid by the Probate Registry, a Will can always be challenged/contested by those who feel there may be fraud or undue influence. There could also be a potential claim from a spouse, civil partner, partner and minor children/dependants if they feel there is not 'reasonable financial provision' under the relevant Inheritance Tax Act. (for more details see Who can write a Will and can I leave what I have to anyone? Can I leave people out of my will? )

We recommend that you make your Will using our professional glossLegal service to make sure your loved ones are not left with problems when you are no longer around to sort them out. glossLegal provides the highest quality Will documentation, unique to you, professionally checked by qualified solicitors, posted, bound and with clear instructions for signing your Will.

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15. What to do before writing my Will? What do I need?

Before starting making your Will online with glossLegal, think about full names, addresses and details for the following:

1. The person(s) you want to chose to look after your property when you die. This person is known as an Executor of your Will. Executors should be adult, trustworthy and willing to help – typically a spouse, relative or a friend. It does not matter if they receive some of your property. You should appoint at least two people.

2. A Substitute Executor to manage your property if (and only if) an Executor has died or cannot help. You should appoint a Substitute Executor if you have young children.

3. Who is going to take care of your young children. Guardians act as a “substitute parent” if both natural parents die before a child reaches the age of 18 years. Guardians are in charge of the schooling and welfare. You should appoint one or two Guardians who are close to your child(ren). They can be family or friends.

4. Who should be the main Beneficiaries of your property. The beneficiaries inherit your property after paying off debts, tax, expenses, specific items and money gifts. Below are the four main options, depending on your circumstances; you will be asked to select one. It is usual to select option (i).

(i) Give all to one "person" (e.g. spouse/partner), then pass onto my children/child if the "person" dies before me, and then pass onto substitute beneficiaries if my spouse/partner and my children die before me.
This situation covers the case where you have a wife/husband/partner with children who may be young or grown-up. You are parents of the children. So it makes logical sense to make your co-parent the sole beneficiary. If they die before you, then the children (grandchildren if your children have died) will inherit, and in case these die before you, even though this is unlikely, they inherit, substitute beneficiaries (which we will ask you to name on your Will) will inherit.

(ii) Give all to one "person" (e.g spouse/partner), then pass onto substitute beneficiaries if the "person" dies before me.
This situation is where you want to leave your whole estate to a loved one, but if they die before you then you should name substitute beneficiaries.

(iii) Give all to my children, then pass onto substitute beneficiaries if my children die before me 
Here you want to leave your estate equally to your child(ren) and if they die before you, their children (your grandchildren) will inherit. We also let you name substitute beneficiaries just in case your children/grandchildren have all died before you, even though this is unlikely.

(iv) Give to a number of beneficiaries (can include charities which you can specifically name).
For example you might want to leave everything to “Save The Children” charity, or to a number of charities, or to a number of friends, and relatives etc., or even a mix of everyone. We make sure that if anyone dies before you (charities cannot die) then that percentage share is split in fair proportion to the remaining beneficiaries.

5. Any specific items (jewelry, furniture etc.) and any token money gifts to relations, charity or friends. This covers specific items which you plan to leave for specific persons. These specific persons can be Main Beneficiaries of your Will or they can be persons who are not listed as Main Beneficiaries and will only inherit the Specific Items you listed (and/or Money Gifts).

6. Any funeral wishes you may have. Typically, most people indicate in their Will whether they want to be buried, cremated or you can say nothing if you are indifferent (in this case your family will usually make arrangements).

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16. What are witnesses? Do I need them?

Witnesses are persons who see an event and are prepared to confirm that the event happened. The UK government passed a Wills Act in 1837 that requires when a customer signs a Will, there must be 2 adult independent persons, known as witnesses, who have seen the act of signature and are prepared to add their details to the Will to prove this.

Therefore, when all UK Wills are signed, there must be two witnesses present. For the Will to be valid, these two witnesses must not be potential beneficiaries of the Will.

At glossLegal we produce a professionally printed and bound document which is ready for you to sign. We post your Will together with very clear signing instructions. We cannot provide 2 witnesses, but all you need to do is find two adults who simply need to be present when you sign your will.  They add their personal details, and you are finished. The witnesses do not commit themselves to anything by adding their details – all they do is make sure the Will is signed according to the Wills Act and it will be declared valid by the Probate Court.

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17. Who are Executors? Are they the same as Trustees?

Executors are the name given to the persons appointed in a Will to manage the estate for the Person who makes the Will. Executors do not have to agree to be named beforehand and can decline to act if they want to. Generally, however, Executors are chosen because they have a close relationship/friendship with the person making the Will and are usually willing to help and act as Executors.

Executors may also become Trustees of any Trusts (see Do I need to set up a Trust?) which are created in the Will. For this reason the term 'Trustees' is used in glossLegal-Wills to mean executors and trustees alike.

During the lifetime of a Trust, the Trustees can retire from their roles and new Trustees can be appointed.

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18. Can an Executor of my Will be a Beneficiary?

It is perfectly natural and acceptable to appoint a major beneficiary as an Executor. A partner/spouse/civil partner is someone who you would normally want to be in charge of your property on your death and, so they may very well also the main beneficiary.

If the Executor of your Will has an interest in your estate you will also want to make sure everything is administered efficiently and properly.

If a solicitor, accountant or other professional person is appointed as an Executor they are entitled to charge for the work they do, so they will also receive a benefit in that sense.

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19.What Tax applies on death? What is Inheritance Tax and how does it affect the drafting of my Will?

Tax and how it is applied is complex. Below is our summary for your guidance. For a more complete picture, here is a link to the UK government HMRC website.

Under UK law, essentially only Inheritance Tax applies upon death. The key points about Inheritance Tax are summarised below:

  • Inheritance Tax in the UK is directly charged on personal estates on death and is the main tax to consider when drafting Wills.
  • No inheritance tax is due on the first £325,000 of your property (this is called the nil rate band) ; assets beyond this amount are taxed at 40% unless those assets are left to a spouse, civil partner or charity. They are 'exempt' transfers. (Note that the nil band rate is changed every year in the Government Budget).
  • If you transfer your estate to your spouse, a civil partner or charity, (provided they are, like you, domiciled in the UK), they will inherit your property tax free. Note that if you do not make a will, Inheritance Tax may apply and your estate may not all go to your spouse. Note that this Inheritance Tax saving is only to be had on the first death of you or your spouse/civil partner. Additionally, to the extent that the tax free £325,000 is not fully used on first death, the surviving spouse will have the ‘balance’ - up to a double nil rate band (up to £650,000) to cover the estate on second death before it is charged to 40% inheritance tax. So for married couples it is TAX EFFECTIVE to leave everything to each other and then to children.

Separately, gifts (not to spouses/civil partners and charity) made in the seven years before death are also added to the calculation and could potential charged an inheritance tax.

Finally, you should know that, if due, Inheritance Tax is usually paid before anything left in your Will is distributed.

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20. In what countries is my Will valid?

All glossLegal Wills, if correctly drafted and signed, will meet UK probate requirements and will be valid everywhere in the world. Because of international treaties, your Will is valid globally.

While the Will is valid, it may not have ‘teeth’ to say what happens to land/fixed property in countries outside of the UK. The reason for this is that those countries may have their own governmental rules covering how such property is inherited, how it is taxed, and how their citizens/ those who are ‘domiciled’ there are able to leave property on death.

Note that glossLegal Wills are not drafted to be suitable for Scotland, Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

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21. I have a foreign property, can I use glossLegal to make a Will?

If you also have property / assets in the UK and you live in the UK on a permanent basis, then the answer is Yes.

The country where your property is situated might have local rules on what will happen to that foreign property when you die. For example, the country might state that surviving spouses and children are entitled by law to receive a fixed share of your property. However, even if a UK Will cannot “override” these foreign rules, the UK Will has the very important benefit of appointing Executors who will look after your property in the UK (and any foreign property which is not “covered” by local rules) and name beneficiaries. This will help with the whole process of sorting out your affairs to help your loved ones upon your death.

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22. What happens on marriage, divorce and separation?

Upon marriage, your Will is automatically revoked (ends!). You therefore need to make a new Will as you will be intestate (see What happens if I do not have a Will?).

Upon any separation, your Will continues to be valid. You must make a new Will if you do not want any benefit to go to your ex-partner.

Upon a divorce (i.e when the Court makes your divorce official), your Will will still be valid, but any benefit going to your ex-spouse is removed by law. We advise to make a new Will to make this clear.

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23. How long is my Will valid for?

Your glossLegal Will is valid for your entire lifetime, unless it is revoked (cancelled). This can happen if the Will is (a) destroyed or, (b) you sign a new Will, or (c) you marry or enter into a Civil Partnership (see What happens on marriage, divorce and separation?)

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24. What happens if somebody I leave something to in my Will dies before me?

If somebody dies before you, then the gift (specific item/money gift/ or property left to a main beneficiary) does not go to that person or their estate. Instead the gift will ‘fail’ and pass on to the other main beneficiaries listed in your Will, in a manner proportional to their respective share as instructed on your Will.

Even if someone is much younger than you, there is the possibility that he/she might die before you due to unforeseen circumstances. For this reason, we suggest that you name substitute beneficiaries when drafting your Will with us.

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25. Do I need to set up a Trust?

The creation of a Trust for young children is a highly recommended and common practice. By Writing your Will with glossLegal, you automatically create a Trust for your children. We suggest an age of 25 years for the children to inherit outright (you have the option to select any age between 18 and 35), but property will remain available for all use beforehand.

In the past. people used to create a Trust for parents who wanted to avoid the Inheritance Tax for their children, the so-called ‘nil-rate band trust’. This is no longer required now because a surviving parent now benefits from the double inheritance tax free band on their death (for more information, see What Tax applies on death? What is Inheritance Tax and how does it affect the drafting of my Will?).

You can set up a Trust so that your partner has the benefit of your property for their lifetime, but is safeguarded for children. At the moment, glossLegal do not offer this.

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26. How do I ensure that my children are provided for financially?

Under the Main Beneficiaries section of the Simple Questionnaire, you have clear options on how to provide benefits for your children. You are able to decide to leave benefits outright if children are grown-up and able to manage inheritance, or the property can stay ‘in trust’ so that the named Executors (trustees) look after the property until your children reach an age between 18 and 35 that you choose when they can manage their own inheritance.

Before the age when children ‘inherit’ from a Trust, all the money and property in the Trust (under glossLegal Wills) is available for that child’s housing, schooling and welfare. Trustees have wide powers to buy and sell houses and invest monies (with care) to provide an income and capital return.

We do not ‘name’ each child but instead refer to then all as ‘children’. This covers any children who are born after the Will is signed, and it also prevents any mistakes if children are incorrectly named.

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27. Do I need a Joint Will? What is it?

People often ask how they could draft a “joint Will” with their partner; however there is no such thing as a joint Will under UK law. Under UK law, each adult has to make their own Will as their own separate person. The two Wills, if they are partners, may be similar and look like ‘mirror Wills’, but they are not joint. When using glossLegal each partner should make his/her own Will and create his/her own glossLegal account.

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28.We are Partners or Married. What are Mirror Wills?

If you are married, in a civil partnership, or life partners, then it is likely that your Wills will have similar details, such as same guardians, executors and provisions for children. Such Wills are commonly known as ‘Mirror Wills’ as they look like reflections of each other.

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29. What do Guardians do?

Guardians are persons appointed by the parents of minor children to look after those children, when both parents have died, i.e., they 'step in to the parent's shoes' until the children attain the age of 17. This will mean that the guardians have control over welfare, health and schooling issues in the same way that parents have over their own children.

Guardians are not in charge of the children's money (trust fund) as that is the responsibility of the Trustees/Executors who are named in the Will. Although in the Wills which glossLegal provide the Trustees are instructed to make sure that the guardians do not suffer any financial loss from carrying out their role.

It is normal to appoint close family or friends as guardians as they will already have a link with the children and be sympathetic to the way in which the parents would like their children to be looked after in their absence. While the appointment of guardians is very important, it should be borne in mind that it is an unlikely event that both natural parents will have died before their children have become adults.

You can appoint one guardian or two or more guardians. It is not practical or sensible to appoint more than two guardians. The appointment of one guardian is absolutely fine ; most people only appoint one.

When two guardians have been appointed they must act jointly. That means that they must agree on decisions such as where the child(ren) live and schooling. For that reason, if you choose to appoint two guardians, you should appoint two guardians who will get on well with each other and agree on these important issues.

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30. What is the term Tenants in Common and how does it affect making a Will?

When two people buy/own property/land they can own it in two distinct ways. They can own the property as tenants-in-common or as joint tenants. Neither form of ownership affects life time property ownership rights, but just how the property passes / is inherited on death. Both forms of ownership provide for equal ownership rights.

If a property/land is owned as tenants-in-common, upon the death of one of the co-owners their share of the property/land will 'pass through' their Will and be inherited by the beneficiaries named in the Will.

If the property/land is owned as joint tenants, upon death the property share of a co-owner who dies will transfer to the other co-owner 'automatically' by the right of 'survivorship' and hence the share of the property will not 'pass' through the Will.

Between spouses and civil partners, you must likely own your home as ‘joint tenants’. ‘As such, the survivor inherits your home absolutely, and with no Inheritance Tax’. In this situation, there is no need to ‘convert’ the ownership to tenants-in-common.

Therefore if someone making a Will wants a share of property which they co-own to be left on their death to someone other than their co-owner they will need to make sure that the property is owned as tenants-in-common rather than as joint tenants. This is achieved by a simple process of 'severance'. For more specific information please visit Land Registry website.

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31. What does Intestate mean?

Intestate is where an individual dies without having made a valid Will (or a Will which the probate courts do not recognize as valid). Therefore the administration and distribution is carried out in accordance with Intestacy Rules which are made by government.

These rules are inflexible and take no account of any personal preference and desires. They decide which members of the family will inherit and the percentage share.

The intestacy rules in a simplified form - Get the rules Entitlement to the estate of a deceased person who was domiciled in England & Wales, and who did not leave a valid will. This chart is not intended to be a definitive statement of the law covering every set of circumstances, nor is it legal advice. Get the rules.

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32. What is Probate?

Probate is the name given to the overall process of administering an estate after death, which will always cover the collection of assets, the payment of liabilities, and the distribution to the beneficiaries of the estate and also may include obtaining a grant of probate and filing in an inheritance tax form.

The government has developed rules to make sure that in the process of probate, the Executors strictly follow the instructions in the Will and also meet all inheritance tax liabilities, and other government duties.

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