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10 Wills and Probate

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1. Introduction

2. Why should I make a will?

3. What makes a will valid?

4. Who can be a witness?

Any person who is over 18 can sign as a witness. However, the witnesses should not be people who benefit from the will or who are appointed executors (or the husband or wife of one of these people). If you witness a will and you are named as someone who will benefit from it, you will lose your right to that benefit when the person dies.

Special rules apply in certain situations. For example, if a blind person or someone who can't read or write wants to make a will, you should speak to an adviser to find out more about this. See 'Further help' for details of where you may be able to find an adviser.

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

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: July 2007

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