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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 do this (for example, your children). The usual rule for appointing administrators 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 a 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







This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Paul Elmhirst, a solicitor specialising in wills and probate.

Leaflet version: April 2019




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