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10 Wills and Probate

pdf icon Download Wills and Probate (PDF File 539kb)

1. Introduction

2. Why should I make a will?

3. What makes a will valid?

For a person to make a valid will, they must be:

  • 'mentally capable' (which means they fully understand what they are doing in writing their will); and
  • at least 18 years old (though you can make a will if you are younger and on active military service).

The will must:

  • have been made without 'undue influence' (for example, without a threat from someone);
  • be in writing;
  • be signed by the person whose will it is (the 'will-maker 'or 'testator') and by two witnesses, who must all be together at the signing (see 'Who can be a witness?'); and
  • be dated when it has been signed.

No amendments or additions should be made after the will has been signed.

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are regularly updated, but the law may have changed since this was printed, so information in it may be incorrect or out of date.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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