Frequently Asked Questions

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Can family members witness your Will?

No, family members should not witness your Will. The general rule to keep in mind is that a person who may benefit from your Will in any way cannot sign as a witness.  If they do sign as a witness they will lose their entitlement under the Will. Witnesses should also be over 18 years old.

How many Executors can I appoint?

By appointing only 1 Executor you run the risk of them predeceasing you and there being no Executor to manage your estate.  It is worth noting that if you are setting up a Trust within your Will you will need a minimum of two trustees.

What is the role of an Executor?

In  simple terms, an Executor is responsible for ensuring the terms and wishes of the deceased are adhered to and to manage the process through probate.

This can be quite an involved process depending on the size and nature of your estate.  They are responsible for undertaking certain legal obligations as well as organising your funeral and distributing your assets.

What is the difference between an Executor and a Trustee?

The Executor is a person or organisation duly appointed by the Testator within the Will. They take responsibility for the administration of the Estate which involves collecting in the assets, meeting all legal and tax obligations and then distributing it in accordance with the wishes of the Testator.  If within the Will, there is a need for a Trust to be set up, because any part of the distribution of the estate is delayed, (e.g. gift to minor children) then the Executors will usually become Trustees at the end of the administration period. A Trustee is someone who holds and manages an asset or part of the estate temporarily on behalf of a beneficiary.  In the majority of Wills these people are the same and the Executor will simply change his responsibility from an Executor to a Trustee at the end of the administration period.

Is storage of my Will important?

Your Will is a very important document both for you and your family. As such, it should be kept safely and securely and your Executors should be kept informed of its location at all times. At Honey, we offer safe and secure storage at a very competitive price. We will issue you with a Storage Certificate containing a unique number to enable your Executors to retrieve the document simply and quickly.

Can I make changes to my Will in the future?

The simple answer is yes and there are many ways of making those changes, depending on the nature of the change you wish to make. Major changes may require a complete rewrite of your existing Will while more minor changes can be dealt with by preparing a Codicil or Memorandum of Wishes. Remember a Will is a Legal document, and so is a Codicil.

Does a PWPT affect my mortgage?

No. Your mortgage will continue as normal.

How are my assets transferred into my Living Trust?

Honey Legal will assist with the transfer of your property into the Living Trust and prepare the necessary Land Registry application (where appropriate).  Honey Legal are not in a position to transfer any other type of asset due to the varying rules of financial institutions and organisations.  We can however, provide you with an example letter that you can adapt to your circumstance and give to your financial institution.

What is a Memorandum of Wishes?

A Memorandum of Wishes is not a legal document but your Executors are honour bound to comply with your wishes; it is also easier to make additional changes to this document if you change your mind or circumstances change again.  For instance, you may have certain instructions you wish your Executors to carry out on your death (for example, you may decide on a particular piece of music to be played at your funeral), or you may wish to distribute certain items of your estate in a particular way.  Preparing a Memorandum of Wishes is the simplest way of dealing with this type of change. Codicils and Memorandums of Wishes should be stored alongside your Will.  Honey Legal can advise on the most prudent solution.

What do I do when someone dies, and who do I contact?

If you are appointed as an Executor, this is where your responsibilities start and there are a number of people/organisations you need to contact in the first instance.  If The Will Associates Asset Management Ltd are appointed as one of the Executors, we will use our experience and expertise to carry out our duties with speed and efficiency whilst affording the utmost care and respect to all members of the family.  We understand this is a most difficult time for the family and we will work with co-Executors to make the following days and months as painless as possible.

What is a PWPT?

A PWPT (Protective Will Property Trust) is a 2-part process; a Will and a Severance of Tenancy (if needed) on the property to protect each half independently.

Why do I need a PWPT?

When most properties are purchased they are registered at Land Registry in two names (typically, husband and wife).

Most purchases are registered as ‘joint tenants’ meaning ‘what is yours is mine’ and vice versa.  In reality when one of the partners dies the whole property is left to the other, and on second death, the property is left to the beneficiaries of the partner who was last to die.

This makes the inheritance down the bloodline vulnerable if, for example, the remaining spouse or one of the children remarries and decides to include the new family in the Will.

As part of an overall estate plan, a PWPT is a useful tool to ensure your family benefits as you would wish by protecting each half of the property.

Why do I need a Living Trust?

Living Trusts are specifically designed to protect your assets during your lifetime and to give you peace of mind that they can be passed on securely and intact to your spouse, your children and their bloodline after your death as you would wish.

What exactly is an LPA and why do I need one?

An LPA is a legal document giving the person or persons you trust (your attorneys) the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapable of making them yourself.  The LPA is prepared at a time when you are capable of making your own decisions.

What happens to my LPA when it has been signed?

The LPA has no legal standing until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). Once the document has been signed, if you wish to have it registered, it should be returned to our Honey Legal team who will arrange this for you. Registration with the OPG is an additional service we can provide. The process at the OPG can take as long as 15 weeks and the document is then returned to us for storing on your behalf. Once registered, the LPA will continue to be a legal document until the donor dies.

When does an LPA become effective?

Your attorney(s) can start using the powers granted by your Finance and Property LPA as soon as it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). Your Health and Welfare LPA can be used once it is registered with the OPG and you have lost capacity to make decisions yourself. However, you can specify the extent of the authority you are granting, or put restrictions within the document if you wish to do so. For example, you may wish to specify your attorney(s) can start managing your financial affairs in the event of your mental incapacity and not before. It is worth noting that it is becoming increasingly difficult for third parties to assist in managing the financial affairs of another. It is now a criminal offence to handle the affairs of someone who is incapable (even if prior authorisation was given) without a registered LPA.

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