Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to our most commonly asked questions
Will Writing FAQ's
Making a will ensures your estate (belongings, possessions, money and property) gets passed to who you want it to go to. If you die without a will your estate will be distributed as per the Laws of Intestacy and may even go to the government.
No, you don’t need a Solicitor to write your Will. It’s a common myth that only Solicitors can write a Will. Usually, solicitors charges are much higher than a professional will writer.
A will writer guides you through writing your Last Will and Testament. They take the stress out of writing you will by listening to your wishes and drafting it into a legally binding document. They can also advise on Inheritance tax, Trusts, lasting powers of attorney and other areas you hadn’t considered.
For your Will to be legally valid, you must:
Be 18 or over
Make it voluntarily without being coerced; all decisions must be made of your own free Will.
Be of sound mind and be fully aware of the nature of the document and what decisions you are making.
Make it in writing – It must be clear and legible and to avoid it being contested, written in a way that is not open for interpretation.
Sign it in the presence of 2 witnesses who are both over 18 and who are not a beneficiary (or a spouse of the beneficiary). The two witnesses then need to sign it in your presence.
Only the original will document is valid. Copies are not legally binding. You should keep your Will in a safe place where it cannot be stolen, damaged or tampered with. You must also advise your executors where your Will is located. At Sovereign Planning, we can store your Will safely and securely.
When you book your appointment with your Sovereign Planning professional will writer, you will receive an email with all the information to help you prepare. You will need:
Identification – Passport, Driving licence, national insurance number to verify it is you we are talking to.
Executors Details – Their full names, addresses, contact telephone numbers and dates of birth.
Beneficiaries – These are the recipients of your estate, and you need their full names, addresses, contact telephone numbers and dates of birth.
Estate Valuation – An estimation of your estate (E.g. How much your property is worth? or Do you have any cash ISA’s? etc.) This information is taken to analyse how you would like your estate to be distributed or advise on the Inheritance Tax Threshold (IHT).
Children – Details of any children who are minors at the date of your death and who you want to take guardianship of them.
Funeral Wishes – If you would like to be buried or cremated
Legal guardian for your children if they are under 18 at the time of death
Your assets – Money, property, belongings, savings, pensions etc.
Your executors (you can pick several people)
Its recommended to review your Will at least once every five years. There are also other reasons to review your Will, such as having children or grandchildren, getting divorced, coming into a large amount of money, and having one of your beneficiaries or executors die. We have a blog that covers this in more detail How do I amend my Will
Depending on who writes your Will the cost can vary greatly. If you have it written by a solicitor, the average price is £200 to £300 and could be up to £500 in more complex cases.
A Professional Will writing service usually is £50 to £150 for a single basic Will – At Sovereign Planning, we have a special offer price of £59.
A DIY will template pack is usually around £30 – You complete your will instructions by yourself. It is not checked by a professional, and you receive no advice.
Yes, you can write your own Will, but we do not recommend it. If you write your own Will, it could save your money upfront, but it could end up costing you in the long run. If you make any mistakes or leave it open to interpretation, your final wishes may not be upheld. If you make a significant error, it could invalidate your Will, and the law will decide what happens to your estate.
A mirror will is two wills that are almost identical that reflect the wish of a couple. They are still two separate documents, but they reflect each other content as often a couple (married or unmarried) have the same wishes.
Our Mirror will cost only £118 and this will give you two wills one for each person.
Yes. All wills can be challenged, but not all challenges are valid or successful.
If your Will is written clearly and gives valid reasons for making those decisions, it is less likely that a challenge will be successful. If you are splitting your assets equally amongst your family, it is very rare that it will be contested.
If there is a suggestion that you have been coerced or you do not have mental capacity when writing your Will then there is a higher likelihood it could be successfully challenged.
You can reduce the risk of your Will being challenged by getting your Will written by a professional Will Writer.
When using a will writing service, your professional will writer can give advice on the best way to draft your Will to ensure it truly reflects your wishes. Your will writer will provide you with advice on Inheritance tax and other areas you may not have considered according to your situation. When you write your Will with Sovereign Planning, you get a draft document to check, and your fully completed Will is sent out to you in the post. We remove the hassle and stress of trying to draft the document yourself.
You cannot change the original will document. Tampering with the original may invalidate it. You can add an amendment document called a codicil, but if you have multiple changes, you should draft a new will.
A codicil is a document that is kept alongside your Will to outline any changes. This document acts as a supplement to the original Will. It can be used for minor changes such as appointing a new executor or Updating your wishes regarding your funeral, burial or cremation. The document needs to be signed and witnessed in the same way as a will.
A letter of wishes is a document drawn up to accompany your Will. Unlike a will, it is not legally binding, but it provides guidance for the people dealing with your estate and/or any trusts to be arranged after you die. More information can be found on The Gazette https://www.thegazette.co.uk/wills-and-probate/content/103504
An Executor is a person responsible for handling your estate as per your wishes. Some of the executors’ roles are making a list of assets, settling any debts, dividing the estate as per the will instructions and paying inheritance tax from the estate.
You can pick a friend or family member as your executor. It should be someone you can trust and who is willing to take on the responsibility of the role. You can pick up to four people to share the role, but they all need to be in agreement. You can also select a professional executor if you wish.
Yes. An executor can be a beneficiary but it is important they do not witness the Will. By Law if an executor witnesses the Will, they won’t be entitled to receive anything bequeathed in the Will.
A Trust is created within your Will to allow you to protect the property you hope to pass on to your family. Trusts are legal entities that will enable someone to benefit from an asset without being the legal owner. You set up the conditions of the trust in your Will, and it activates upon your death. The Sovereign Planning team can advise you if you wish to include a trust with your will and set one up with you.
A Discretionary Trust is slightly different to a Will Trust as it gives the trustee control of when and where to distribute the trust as outlined by the trust document when it was originally drawn up.
For example you have a business and you have 3 children. You want the child who has the interest in the business to inherit it but at this point it is unclear as the children are too young. When you pass away the trustee will hold the money in trust until comes the time it is clear which child the business will be passed to and then this will be done as per your wishes.
Sideways disinheritance happens when beneficiaries (most often children of a first marriage) do not inherit their intended share of an estate normally due to their parent/s remarrying. This often occurs when a parent hasn´t made a will and they pass away interstate. If the parent has remarried then the majority of the estate will go to the new partner and then legally to their children/family if they pass away, there is no legal responsibility to provide for step-children. To avoid this happening you can setup a trust in your will to ensure your children are provided for. For further details see our blog https://www.sovereignplanning.co.uk/2021/11/23/making-a-will-with-stepchildren/
Yes, using a will trust can be an effective way to protect your home, assets or savings against care home fees in the future.
Asset – The property owned by the person who died. For example, a house, household goods, savings, investments, a car, etc.
Attestation statement – This is the final signing and witnessing of your will.
Beneficiary – A Person who is entitled to receive a share of the estate, a specific gift, or sum of Money.
Bequeath – A gift left in a Will.
Debt – Any outstanding bills for utility, mortgages, insurances etc. Also includes any money owing to Financial Institutes such as bank loans, credit cards. Medical bills, death certificate, care home costs are also classed as debt.
Estate – All the assets owned, minus the value of any debts that you owe.
Executor – A person or people (up to 4) appointed to administer the estate.
Guardian – Someone appointed to look after the interests of a child under the age of 18.
Intestate – A person who has died and not left a legally valid will.
Residue – Everything that is left in the estate after all the liabilities, tax, costs and legacies have been paid.
Testator – The person who makes the Will
Trust – Trusts are legal entities that allow someone to benefit from an asset without being the legal owner (For example children).
Trustee – The trustee manages the trust on behalf of the ‘beneficiaries’
Probate – The process of administering a deceased person’s estate. It includes organising assets, paying debts and taxes and distributing the estate as inheritance.