At willforms.co.uk we have a choice of will forms which you can choose from to make a will that is suitable for your own personal circumstances. We have made will writing very easy with our forms since all you need to do is to type in the relevant details in the places shown on the will form. We also help you in making a will by providing a free guide and a free example will when you download a will form. Click here to be taken to our will forms download page.
The will forms are Microsoft Word documents which means you can download a will form and fill it in on your computer at any time you want. The will forms are valid in the following areas of the United Kingdom (UK), namely in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
WHAT SHOULD BE IN A WILL FORM?
There is one clause which should always be included in a will and that is a clause stating that any wills you may have previously made are revoked. A later will does not automatically revoke an earlier one. However, if a revocation clause is included in your new will it clearly expresses your wishes and prevents confusion if there are any inconsistencies between your old and new wills.
Even if you have not in fact made a will before, it is a good idea to include a revocation clause because it tells the world to apply your wishes as written in the will.
Appointing an executor
You must appoint at least one executor who will carry out the instructions of your will and it is normal to have two executors. You should also appoint a substitutional executer as a backup in case any of the named executors is unable to act.
The main concern in choosing your executors is that they should be reliable and trustworthy in carrying out your wishes. There is nothing in law to prevent a beneficiary under a will also being an executor. Indeed, it is quite usual for one of the main beneficiaries to be an executor. This means relatives and friends can act as your executors.
You can also appoint a professional adviser such as a solicitor or an accountant as executor, however, they will charge a fee for their services.
You need to appoint trustees if you create a trust in your will. The responsibility of trustees is to administer property on behalf of the beneficiaries.
For example, a trust arises where property is given to children under the age of 18. In this example, trustees will manage the property for the benefit of the children until they reach an age that you specify in the will at which point the property is handed over to them. Executors of your will can also be trustees.
Appointing a guardian
If you have minor children (children under 18) it is important that you should consider the appointment of a guardian for your children in your will. It is important in case both parents die as a result of a common accident. If you are the only surviving parent and have the care of your children, appointing a guardian is particularly important.
When appointing a guardian you should check with the proposed guardian as to whether he or she is willing and able to act. It is also wise to appoint a second or alternative guardian in case the first guardian is unable to act. The guardian can also be one of the executors.
WHO GETS WHAT?
After you have appointed yours executors and trustees, and where appropriate guardians, the next step is to list the assets that you own and decide who is to receive these assets. You can perform a rough calculation of your estate and estimate its worth. However, you need not be too exact about this since the value of your assets at present may change with time.
A specific gift is a gift of a particular item or a number of items of property which you own. This may be land, personal possessions, money, shares and so on. Whatever, the gift may be it is important to describe it as accurately and as clearly as possible. If you do not do this your gift may not end up where you want it because your executors will not be certain which item you are talking about. Also clearly identify the person who is to receive the gift with their full name.
For example, ‘I give the whole of my collection of records to my friend William Jones.’
Or, ‘I give £10,000 to my daughter Heather Smith.’
A specific gift may not necessarily have financial importance but may be of sentimental value that has special meaning to a particular person.
The residuary gift
The residue is everything that is left after all debts, taxes, administration costs and specific gifts have been paid or transferred. The residue can go to one person or distributed amongst a number of people. If there is more than one residuary beneficiary you must specify the share of the residue that each person will receive.
For example, I give the residue of my estate to Emma Robinson and David Blackburn in equal shares.
Or, I give the residue of my estate to Hilary Johnson (75% share) and Andrew Saunders (25% share).
Substitute residuary beneficiary
If the recipient of a specific gift dies before you, that gift will be inherited by the residuary beneficiary instead. However, if the residuary beneficiary dies before you there will be no person for the gift to pass on to.
Appointing an alterative or substitute beneficiary can avoid this problem. This is done quite simply by making the gift conditional upon the primary beneficiary surviving you by a specified period and then saying what is to happen to the gifted property if he/she does not. Such an arrangement is known as a ‘survivorship clause’. It is usual to choose 28 days as the survival period.
For example, I give the residue of my estate to my husband Michael Williams provided that my husband survives me by 28 days. If my husband does not survive me by 28 days, then I give the residue of my estate to my sister Jane Evans.
If you initially name two people who will receive the residue and one of them predecease you, that person’s share can be given to the surviving residuary beneficiary or to a substitute beneficiary.
Likewise, if you name three or more people who will receive the residue and one of them predecease you, that person’s share can be given to the surviving residuary beneficiaries or to a substitute beneficiary.
The survivorship clause is also useful in situations when the residuary beneficiary dies soon after you, may be as a result of an accident that you were both involved in. If you did not have a survivorship clause, in such situations your residue may go to the residuary beneficiary and then almost immediately be distributed according to the beneficiary’s own will or under the rules of intestacy if he/she does not have a will.
The will must be properly witnessed for it to have effect. This means the will must be signed first by the testator (person making the will) in the presence of two witnesses who watch it signed. The witnesses should then sign in the presence of each other and the testator. You should all see each other sign.
It is important that the witnesses to the will are neither beneficiaries nor the spouses of beneficiaries in the will. An executor (or the spouse of an executor) can not be a witness if he or she is also a beneficiary. Also, an executor who will reclaim costs of dealing with the estate can not be a witness.