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The Will

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  • The Will

    If there is a will

    • contact the executor if this isn’t you (usually nominated in the will to sort out the deceased's affairs) to enable them to start the process of obtaining probate

    If there is no will

    If you, as next of kin (or someone else with similar powers), believe that someone who has died has left a will, but no one can find it, you can take steps to find out if they made one. These can be:
    • searching the belongings of the person who has died for any evidence that they made a will (for example, a letter from a solicitor);
    • phoning or writing to solicitors and banks that the person might have used;
    • applying to the Principal Probate Registry to see if the person who died left their will there; and
    • placing advertisements in newspapers and legal journals.

    If there is no will, the person's estate will be shared out under the 'rules of intestacy'. These rules set out:
    • who deals with the estate; and
    • who benefits from it.

    The person who will deal with (administer) the estate is the closest living relative to the dead person, chosen in this order:
    1. The husband, wife or registered civil partner of the person who has died (but not their unmarried or unregistered partners).
    2. Their children (aged over 18) or their children's descendants (for example, grandchildren, if they are over 18).
    3. The dead person's parents.
    4. The dead person's brothers or sisters with the same mother and father, or descendants of the brothers or sisters.
    5. Their half-brothers or half-sisters (who had either the same mother or the same father) or their descendants.
    6. Their grandparents.
    7. Their uncles and aunts 'of the whole blood' (this means brothers and sisters of their parents, as long as they had the same mother and father themselves) or their descendants.
    8. Their uncles and aunts 'of the half blood' (this means brothers and sisters of their parents who had only the same mother or father) or their descendants.
    9. The Crown (the state) if there are no relatives.
    If several people have an equal right to deal with the estate (for example, brothers and sisters), letters of administration will normally be given to the first of these people who applies for it.
    However, there can be a problem when, for example, the dead person has several brothers or sisters who all want to be in charge of the funeral or administration. If they cannot agree about this themselves, they must apply to the Probate Court, which will decide who will take responsibility. This process is complicated and you would probably need help from a solicitor.
    Remember, too, that legal disputes cost a lot of money and take time to resolve. The costs will probably be taken out of the estate, if the court agrees to this. But otherwise, you risk being left with a large bill.

  • #2
    Re: The Will

    Will-writing and executor services

    Some firms or individuals who offer a will-writing service try to sell their services as an executor at the same time. An executor is the person responsible for administering your estate. An executor can either be a friend or family member, or a professional who makes a charge for carrying out the work.

    If you name more than one executor in your will, you may appoint a friend or relative together with a professional executor. Many people appoint a professional executor without considering whether or not they need to use their services, or how much it will cost.

    Do you need a professional executor?

    There is no legal requirement to have a professional executor. If you do not have complicated financial affairs, or a complex will, you may not want to employ an executor. In many cases a friend or family member may be able to carry out the task. In any case, if you choose a friend or family member as an executor they can employ professionals themselves to help administer your estate.

    Is the price of the executor service clear and fair?

    If you decide you need a professional executor, you should check to see how much it will cost. Some executors will give an indication of the price, however the price may change by the time you die. Others don't give a clear idea of price at all.
    In any case, you should always shop around for the best deal – it may save your beneficiaries thousands of pounds.

    Replacing or removing an executor

    Once you have appointed a professional executor it can be very difficult for your family and friends to replace or remove the executor when you die. Some executors will agree that, if asked by the beneficiaries, they will stop being the executor. This is called renouncing appointment. When choosing an executor consider if you would like one who is willing to renounce if requested.

    Further information and advice

    For a guide on all the things you should consider when choosing a will visit www.direct.gov.uk
    If you have concerns about the way in which an executor service was explained or sold to you, then contact the firm or individual in the first instance.
    If you are dissatisfied with the response from a solicitor will-writer or executor, you can contact:

    In England, the Legal Complaints Service www.legalcomplaints.org.uk
    In Scotland, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission www.scottishlegalcomplaints.com
    In Northern Ireland, the Law Society of Northern Ireland www.lawsoc-ni.org

    If your will-writer or executor is a member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW), you can bring the conduct of that firm or individual to the attention of the IPW at www.ipw.org.uk. The IPW Code of Practice is approved under the OFT's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme.
    Last edited by enaid; 5th August 2010, 11:31:AM.


    • #3
      Re: The Will

      Being well connected to a Step qualified Private Client Solicitor my advice would always be that at least one professional executor be appointed preferable from the practice that wrote the Will. The benefits are that the person will be an equity partner of the firm & can be successfully sued if they are negligent

      In the event of death they can then take over things such as registering the death arranging the funeral etc at a time which can be very stressful for the family

      Based on many years of experience & witnessing at close quarters the calamities which often occur I would never advise anyone to do it with only another family member involved as it almost always leads to arguments & falling outs particularly when the vulture syndrome sets in

      AND yes they charge for their expertise but then winding up many estates is not as easy as some would imply. Very few of even the low value estates are easy or as straight forward as some think particularly where there are contentious issues to be resolved such as relatives claiming undue influence or disputing the ownership of property etc etc etc

      Unless an estate is well below the IHT level & there are very few beneficiaries its best left to the experts

      Just one example where amateurs come unstuck have they checked to ensure that all of the beneficiaries are free of bankruptcy before paying out & if they haven't & that person who may be little known to you is a bankrupt then you become liable for that asset & could be sued by the official receiver

      Not only that when you tell the family beneficiaries that you have to check their bankruptcy status watch them act up & even accuse you of not trusting them whereas an impartial executor can get away with it without causing offence something family members seldom do

      My well connected Solicitor deals with the mess caused by Will writing firms at least twice a month. Estates liable for tax when they should not be. Wills badly written & not in line with current precedent etc etc etc

      Anyway I came looking for Dell Computers
      Last edited by righty; 30th June 2010, 18:30:PM.


      • #4
        Re: The Will

        Its always been my experience that solicitor executors will certainly renounce at the beneficiaries request as they don't wish to become embroiled in disputes with said beneficiaries. They have firms to run & disputes increase costs which are then usually objected to by the very people who have caused them

        Also the IPW is fine as far as it goes but the only sanction they can exercise is to remove a firm from their register, they cannot stop them from trading. In addition Will writers, unlike solicitors, are not required by law to have indemnity insurance & anyone can set such a firm up without as much as a CRB check


        • #5
          Re: The Will

          I wonder if someone could please help me. I am trying to find out what happens if someone dies without a will and a child is trying to make a claim against the estate. The thing is, the father who died is not named on that child's birth certificate, are they still able to make a claim and what would they have to do anything to prove their claim.

          Thank you


          • #6
            Re: The Will

            Originally posted by was View Post
            I wonder if someone could please help me. I am trying to find out what happens if someone dies without a will and a child is trying to make a claim against the estate. The thing is, the father who died is not named on that child's birth certificate, are they still able to make a claim and what would they have to do anything to prove their claim.

            Thank you
            Is there any evidence of their relationship?


            • #7
              Re: The Will

              Not as far as I'm aware


              • #8
                Re: The Will

                Originally posted by was View Post
                Not as far as I'm aware
                If possible you need to find out? Did they live together Did the father support them or the mother etc


                • #9
                  Re: The Will

                  Originally posted by righty View Post
                  If possible you need to find out? Did they live together Did the father support them or the mother etc
                  The above is an important question and;
                  was there a relationship formed?


                  • #10
                    Re: The Will

                    The following article is somewhat out of date, issue 2006
                    but may be of interest:


                    • #11
                      Re: The Will

                      Any child of the deceased, should automatically be next of kin. Did the father know he was the father?


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