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JR Jones Solicitors Birmingham
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Wills Frequently Asked Questions

We are experts in advising clients on how best to plan their estates. From the smallest to the largest and most complex estate contact uswe will guide you through the process of planning your estate and creating a professionally written Will.

We have provided below answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about estate planning and Wills. If you have any other questions, or would like a consultation, please contact us.

What happens to my estate if I die and haven't made a Will?

If you should die without having left a Will you are said to have died Intestate. A set of statutory rules (the laws of Intestacy) will then be imposed which specify how your assets will be distributed to whom, in a fixed order. If you have no family members then your assets will go to the Crown.

The main danger of dying intestate is that you will have no say in who gets what. Family members who you may not wish to inherit could inherit your assets. Likewise, people who are not blood relatives, such as unmarried partners, may not receive anything.

It is therefore critical that you make a Will to avoid this happening.

Please see our page on the Laws of Intestacy for a list of how assets would be distributed.

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Can I appoint someone be a guardian for my children in a Will?

Yes, you can appoint guardians for children under 18 as part of your Will.

This ensures that should you die whilst your children are still young, your children will be looked after by the people you choose and this important decision will not be left to chance or decided on your behalf by the courts.

By including this simple provision in your Will it should also help to avoid disputes between family members who would all like to help. By making clear your wishes in a Will you can avoid any uncertainty about who you want to look after your children.

Please see our page on Appointing guardians for your children for more information.

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Should I make a Home made Will?

Home made Wills are rarely suitable and are often found to be invalid and disregarded.

There are a number of ways of having a will written. The main thing to consider when choosing a method of will writing is; will it be effective when you die? That is, will your estate be passed on to the people you choose?

Incorrectly drawn up wills are often found to be invalid and contact usdisregarded by the courts. This leads to the estate being treated as if you had died Intestate, i.e. without a will. Under the laws of intestacy your assets are distributed according to a statutory set of rules which leave a person's estate to their next of kin in a fixed order. 

Trying to save a small amount of money upfront by writing your own Will or using a ‘Will kit’ can result in much higher costs later on as errors in writing the Will can make them invalid, requiring the need for a solicitor to intervene in a disputed estate.

Click here for more information on The Laws of Intestacy.

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How often should I update my Will?

If you have already made a Will it is important that it is kept up to date to reflect your circumstances. You should review your Will whenever your circumstances change in any significant way.

Things which may affect your Will include:

  • Having children
  • Marriage
  • Divorce or separation
  • Buying or selling a large asset such as a house

As a general rule it is recommended that you have your Will checked at least every 5 years to ensure that it still reflects your requirements.

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What are mirror Wills?

A good example of Mirror Wills is when a husband and wife want to leave everything to each other, they usually make Mirror Wills.

Mirror Wills relates to when both parties have the same Will but in reverse, for example, they leave everything to the other partner and thereafter to their children.

It is not possible to have a joint Will for a couple. Each individual must have their own Will, although the cost of making mirror Wills is usually less than the cost of making two Wills independently.

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I am remarried, can I leave my house to my children from my earlier marriage but still allow my current spouse to live in it?

If you have remarried and have children from a previous marriage it is possible to ensure the financial security of your current spouse whilst still protecting your children’s inheritance.

To achieve this you need a special type of Will called a ‘Life Interest Will’. Please contact us or see our separate page in Life Interest Wills.

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