FAQ’s at Private Will Services

Q?

Intestacy – who inherits if someone dies without a will?

A.

The husband, wife or civil partner (spouse) keeps all the assets (including property), up to £250,000. They also get all the personal possessions whatever their value.

The remainder of the estate will be shared as follows:

50% to the spouse as an absolute interest.
50% to be divided equally between the surviving children

If a son or daughter has already died, their children (grand children) will inherit in their place.

If there are no surviving children or grandchildren etc, then it all goes to the surviving spouse.

Someone who is an unmarried partner of the deceased has no inheritance through intestacy but must instead make a claim against the estate of the deceased.

Q?

Why Make A Will?

A.

Everyone knows what a Will is. Most people agree that they need one but not everyone knows why they should make one.

Many assume that all their property will automatically pass to their spouse, but did you know:

If you don't make a Will then on your death you will have died intestate. This can be as painful as it sounds for your loved ones who may suffer financial hardship and distress at a time when they least need it, whilst your affairs are sorted out.
If you don't make a Will and you are a parent of young children then you will have no control over who looks after them should anything happen to you. Instead the courts will appoint someone.
If you don't make a Will then you will have no control over who will inherit what you own.
If you don't make a Will then your estate may have to pay inheritance tax.
If you don't make a Will then your family may have to employ professionals to sort out the mess that you leave behind. Their charges will reduce the inheritance that you pass on.

Do you want your family to pay thousands to sort out your assets?

However...

If you do make a Will then the legal process in dealing with your affairs will be easier at a time when your loved ones will need all the help that they can get. 1,000 people die daily before making a Will
If you do make a Will then you can name the beneficiaries (including charities and friends) who will inherit.
If you do make a Will then you can appoint your choice of guardians to look after your children until they reach 18.
If you do make a Will you can distribute your assets in ways to minimise tax.
If you do make a Will your family will have clarity on how to deal with your affairs and may not need to employ (and pay) professionals.
Making a Will is not painful or life-threatening. It is never too early, but all too often left too late. © IPW

Q?

Where are Wills Stored?

A.

Fee per year = £30 Includes storage of two sets of documents (Will plus LPA) for a couple. That is up to 4 documents! All clients that take the Willsafe service through us, receive a special set charge of £40 per amendment for the Wills stored in this facility.  That is a set of changes to one or both Wills. We also offer a Free Review of these documents at your request. Storage facilities The National Will Safe Document Storage facility is a unique national, central, storage facility for Wills that overcomes all of the problems of safely caring for important legal documents. For a small, annual fee.

  • Wills are stored in waterproof wallets.
  • Wills are stored in a specialist document archive.
  • Wills are fully insured.
  • Wills are returned to you or your Will writer - free of charge at any time.
  • Wills are returned to your Executors when needed - free of charge.

The Location of Wills are recorded on the National Wills Register and are paid through annual Direct Debit. Visit the National Wills Register Website here

Q?

What is the Free Will Check Service

A.

Have you any doubts about your present Will?   Do you live in Hampshire or adjacent counties? If your answers to these questions is yes, then you need our FREE Will Check service. We will carefully examine your existing Will for any errors, omissions, and consequential costs. We will then report to you any conceivable problems.   This check might save your inheritance thousands of pounds in future fees – sometimes the check can highlight major savings even in valid Wills.   For example. Do you have professional Executors listed in your Will? Are you aware of their charges? An investigation by WHICH reported in 2010 that the average charge from Banks for Executor services were 3%. For an estate valued at £300,000 that would be a £9,000 cost. For a couple sharing an estate that could result in two bills totalling more than £13,500. This check can thus bring you peace of mind. Where we do identify any problems, you can then take action to correct them while you are able. So how to make use of this FREE SERVICE? Just register your interest by clicking on  and we’ll contact you to discuss, or call us on 02380 070 169.

Q?

Glossary of Terms

A.

A Will uses a number of different legal terms – this is what they mean:
Administrator – Someone who deals with an estate if no Will has been made.
Beneficiary – Someone who benefits from a Will.
Codicil – A subsequent addition to the Will.
Devise – A gift of land or property.
Discretionary Trust – A trust which appoints a number of beneficiaries and enables another group of people (called trustees) to have discretion over when and if any of the trust is paid to any of the beneficiaries.
Executor – One or more people who carry out the instructions in the Will.
Gift – A specific gift of an item or collection of items.
Guardian – Someone who looks after children until they become eighteen.
Intestacy – The rules which dictate who inherits if someone does not leave a Will.
Legacy – A specific gift of a sum of money.
Life Interest Trust – A trust which enables a person to benefit from trust assets during their lifetime without actually owning them, which are then passed on to other beneficiaries when that person dies, or some other stipulated event occurs.
Probate – the procedure under which an administrator (if there is no Will) or executor(s) (if there is a Will) are confirmed.
Residue – The estate which is left after debts, taxes, gifts and legacies have been made.
Stirpes - Per stirpes is a method for distributing the estate of a deceased individual. It is Latin for "per branch" specifying that each branch of the deceased person's family receives an equal share of the estate, regardless of how many people are in that branch.
Testator – The person who is making the Will. The female is testatrix.
Trust – A mechanism where assets are appointed to be used in a defined way.
Trustee – One or more people who manage a trust.

Q?

Why Give To Charity?

A.

Many people give to charities during their lifetime, but the extent of their generosity is limited by their means, and other spending priorities. On the basis of the truism that "we are all worth more dead than alive", a Will may offer the opportunity to be more generous. It is also an appropriate time to show a final appreciation for any help and support that you, or a loved-one, may have received from a particular charity. It was there to help through the generosity of others, it will be available to those who follow through your benevolence. Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity comments: “When planning your inheritance, please consider the charity you’d like to benefit after taking care of loved ones. Everyone can leave the world a better place by leaving a gift to charity in their Will.” When choosing a charity that you wish to benefit in your Will, it is important to ensure that you properly identify the exact charity that you have chosen. Otherwise your gift could bring about rancour, argument or even legal proceedings. This is best done by quoting the Charity Registration number allocated to the individual organisation by the Charities Commission. You should also consider, and make clear, whether you intend the bequest for the national body, or a local or regional branch, where that kind of structure exists. Although charities would generally prefer that you didn't, you can specify the purposes for which your bequest is to be used. In addition it is prudent to provide for circumstances in which a charity may have closed, or merged with another, after the writing of your Will. Where an estate is liable to Inheritance tax, there is an additional benefit in that charitable bequests are tax exempt. For example an estate of £350,000, with the Inheritance Tax "Nil Rate Band" of £325,000 (2010/2011) left conventionally would pay Inheritance Tax of £10,000. The beneficiaries receiving the £340,000 balance. If £325,000 were left to family etc and £25,000 given to charity, the tax bill would be "nil". The family would lose £15,000, the tax man would lose £10,000 and charity would benefit by £25,000. Many will find the charity of their choice preferable to the "compulsory charity" - the Exchequer ! For more information on charitable legacies see Remember A Charity by clicking here and to make a Will which includes a gift to a charity.

Q?

Why Use Private Will Services?

A.

  • We meet you, at a time convenient to you.
  • You will know exactly what the charges will be and most of our work is on a fixed fee basis.
  • We offer a no obligation free discussion at the start.
  • We use plain English and will explain any legal clause that you need to have explained.
  • We can operate very quickly and attend anywhere within 20 miles of Southampton.
  • We are a Full member of the IPW, the only Will Writers with a code approved by the Trading Standards Institute.
  • We can visit you in the privacy of your own home. Any day or evening including weekends.
    Backed with Professional Indemnity Insurance of £2million and Public Liability Insurance of £5million.

Q?

Why Use an IPW Member?

A.

The Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW) and the Institute of Scottish Professional Willwriters (ISPW) have been founded with two principal aims:
To promote the highest possible standards within the Will writing profession
To protect the interests of its members and of the public
All Members of the Institute:
are qualified by examination to write Wills and associated documents
have at least £2million Professional Indemnity Insurance cover to protect their clients
have at least £2m Public Liability insurance cover
have undergone a Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure
undertake regular refresher training to update their knowledge
are subject to the Institutes Code of Practice which has been approved by the Trading Standards Institute under its Consumer Codes Approval Scheme
As a Member of the Institute we:
offer a home-visit service by appointment, often in the evening if that is more convenient to their client
offer a fixed fee
offer secure storage arrangements for documents
offer advice and documentation on matters associated with Wills such as Lasting Powers of Attorney, Advance Decisions (Living Wills) and Will Trusts to protect assets.
* The IPW is regarded by the Government appointed Legal Services Board as “the main self-regulatory body in the field”.
To contact Private Will Services, a Full member of the IPW, please call 02380 070 169