What is an ‘executor’?

One of the most important tasks involved in writing your will is to appoint executors. These are the people who will manage and distribute your estate after you’ve died, using the instructions you make in your will. What does an executor do? Typical responsibilities can include: Collecting and listing all of the assets in the estate – bank accounts, property, possessions etc. Valuing the estate. Applying for a grant of probate. Making sure all debts, bills, taxes (including inheritance tax) and funeral expenses are paid for out of the estate. Sell off assets if needed. Distribute whatever is left, following the wishes made in the will. Keeping a record of what they’ve done in the form of estate accounts. How many executors? If you are leaving all or most of your estate to your partner it is common for that person to be the sole executor of the will. Otherwise it is usually a good idea to appoint more than one executor to share the responsibility. You should also consider appointing substitutes in case your chosen executors die before you do or in case one of them can’t act when the time comes. You can actually appoint as many executors as you want, but only a maximum of four will be able to apply for probate. Two people are usually enough. Related Articles: Who can be appointed as an Executor? How do I appoint an Executor for my will?  Back to the Knowledge...

What is a ‘guardian’?

If you have children under the age of 18 you will probably want to nominate a guardian for them in case you and the child’s other parent were to die. You can only appoint a guardian for your children if you have parental responsibility for them. You can read more about who has parental responsibility and what will happen if there is no will in our ‘What happens to your children if you die without a will’ article. A guardian’s role and responsibilities The role of a guardian is essentially much the same as a parent and can include the day to day care of the child and making decisions about how they are looked after, educated and treated medically until they reach the age of 18. Find out more about choosing guardians in our ‘Appointing guardians for your children in your will’ article. Trusts Most children will also be beneficiaries of their parent’s estate and their inheritance will usually be held for them in a trust until they are 18. The guardians will be able to use any income from the investment of that inheritance for the upkeep of any children left in their care. You can read more about trusts and trustees in our ‘What are trustees in a will’ article. If you have children you will want to make the right decisions for them and we’re here to help – from appointing guardians and trustees to choosing what to leave them. Your will is probably the most important thing you can do to ensure your children are provided for in the event of your death. So...

Who should be appointed as a Guardian?

Out of all the decisions you’ll need to make whilst writing your will, choosing who will look after your children if you and their other parent were to die, is possibly one of the hardest decisions you will have to make.  Whilst it might be an upsetting prospect, it’s an important decision and one you’ll most certainly want to get right. So, who should you choose? Choosing the right guardians Most people choose a brother, sister or close friend to be guardians, but does being a good friend or your favourite sister mean they are going to be the right person to bring up your children? Here are some things you may want to consider: Are their values and ideas on parenting the same as yours? Do they have a good relationship with your child? Do they have the time and energy to be able to properly care for your child? Are they willing to take on such an important responsibility? Does your child have a good relationship with them (and any other children already living in the same home)? Are they physically well enough (and young enough) to look after your child properly until they’re 18? Will they be able to maintain good relationships with the rest of the family (on both sides)? Before making your final decision you should talk to the individuals you want to choose to make sure they are happy to take on the responsibility of being a guardian and understand what this will mean if you were to die. It is often a good idea to appoint at least one guardian (or a...

Who can witness my will?

Your will must be witnessed for it to be valid. So one of the most important steps in completing your will is to have it witnessed correctly. For a full description of the witnessing procedure see [ ] Your witnesses There are no particular rules around who can (and can’t) witness your will, other than they must be must be capable of understanding what they are doing. However, if a beneficiary of the will (or their spouse or civil partner) witnesses the will, thne that person will not be entitled to inherit. So, the following is good practice: Both witnesses should be over 18 (or at least old enough to understand what they are doing. Ideally the should to be traceable after you die, in case they have to explain to a court how the will was signed. Your witnesses do not have to read the will. You could cover the contents with a piece of paper if needed, leaving the area for them to sign uncovered. Their job is simply to confirm they have either seen you sign the will or if you’ve already signed it, that you acknowledge that the signature is yours. Once you’ve written your will online we’ll explain the simple steps you’ll need to follow to sign and have your will witnessed. Back to the knowledge...

Is property that I own overseas covered by my will?

With Affio, you can specify that you want your will to cover your assets in the UK, or your assets throughout the world. If your assets are situated outside of England and Wales, or if you are domiciled outside England and Wales, then the applicable law where the assets are situated, or the the law of your domicile may affect the way your will operates. If you’re concerned about this, you may want to consider getting legal advice or making a second will in the country where you own the property. Back to the knowledge...