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10 Wills and Probate

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1. Introduction

2. Why should I make a will?

When you make a will, you can say how your funeral should be dealt with, and what will happen to your possessions and assets when you die. If you die without making a will (called 'dying intestate'), it can be complicated to work out who will get what.

The Administration of Estates Act 1925 sets out who can apply to deal with your affairs if you die intestate (called 'administering the estate') and how your belongings are to be shared. But several people may have an equal right to administer your estate (for example, your children). When several people are equally entitled to act as administrator, the usual rule is 'first-come, first-served'. However, without a will, there may be dispute or uncertainty.

3. What makes a will valid?

4. Who can be a witness?

5. What does an executor or administrator do?

6. What is probate?

7. Will I have to pay inheritance tax?

8. Who takes charge if there is no will?

9. Who gets the estate if there is no will?

10. What can I do if I think there is something wrong with the will?

11. What can I do if I think the will is unfair?

12. What if there isn´t enough money to pay for the funeral?

13. What if there isn´t enough money to pay the person´s debts?

14. Terms used in wills and probate matters

15. Further help

16. About this leaflet

The leaflets in this series give you an outline of your legal rights. They are not a complete guide to the law, nor do they explain how the law will apply to you or to any specific situation. The leaflets are regularly updated, but the law may have changed since this was printed, so information in it may be incorrect or out of date.

If you have a problem, you will need to get more information or personal advice to work out the best way to solve it. See 'Further help' for sources of information and advice.

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC).

Leaflet version: January 2009

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