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Wills and Probate - Frequently Asked Questions
Wills and Probate
Here are some frequently asked questions about wills:
  1. Questions
    1. Do I need a Will?
    2. Must I use a Lawyer?
    3. Why is it So Complicated?
    4. Can they Do this - Duties and Powers
  2. Answers
    1. Do I need a Will?

      Not everyone needs to make a will. If you are happy that what the law provides for on your death without a will is what you would want to happen anyway, then there is little point in making a will. Unfortunately, few of us are in that lucky position.

    2. Must I use a Lawyer?

      No. Similarly, you can pull your own teeth, and do your own brain surgery. All wills are simple and standard to the people who make them. We see our own lives as normal. In fact there is much greater variety than can be provided for in a few simple wills templates.

    3. Why is it So Complicated?

      It is as complicated as is your life.

    4. Can they Do this - Duties and Powers

      Beneficiaries are sometimes - often - frustrated by the activities of the executors. They appear to be mking decisions which they do not like. There are three stages to considering such activities.

      • The first power of executors derives from the will. Executors can do certain things simply by virtue of their appointment under the will. Where there is a will, the trustees must act according to its instructions. Of course if there is no will, there is not this first stage. If there is no will, nobody can do anything until the second stage.
      • A grant is made by the court. This is an authority granted to either the executors or to certain members of the family to administer the estate. The applicant swwears an oath to administer the estate according to law, and where there is one, according to the contents of the will.
      • Having checked the general authority, the next staep is to look at whether any particular act complained of is done by the exercise of a power or of a duty. The executors can have a power to retain property for a period before selling it. They have a duty to pay out bequests. The difference is that a duty must be put into effect as soon as one executor says so, whereas a power can be exercised only if all the executors agree.
Important: Please note that our law-bytes are retained for archival purposes only. The law changes, and these notes are often, now, out of date. You must take direct advice on your own personal situation and the law as it currently stands.
All information on this site is in general and summary form only. The content of any page on this site may be out of date and or incomplete, and you should not not rely directly upon it. Take direct professional legal advice which reflects your own particular situation.
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Copyright and Database Rights: David Swarbrick 2012
18 October 2013 211 18 October 2013