Making a Will in the UK

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A Will is a legal document which sets out the people responsible for dealing with your estate after your death and specifies the people or organisations you wish to benefit from your estate.

At Forbes Solicitors we recommend that you consider making a Will, or reviewing your existing Will following any significant change in your personal or financial circumstances; and particularly when divorce or separation are a possibility.

Important considerations when making a Will are:

  • Appointment of Executors who are the people legally responsible for carrying out your wishes expressed in your Will
  • Appointment of guardians to look after young children
  • Who is to benefit from your estate? If you want to leave your estate to your children, at what age would you want them to inherit? Do any children have special needs to be provided for?
  • What is to happen to your estate if your children died before you or at the same time as you? Who would you want to benefit?
  • Will any Inheritance Tax be payable?

Impact of Divorce

If you already have a Will and are later divorced (or the marriage is annulled or declared void) the appointment of the former spouse as executor in the Will no longer takes effect, and any gift to the former spouse will generally lapse.


If you marry after making a Will, the marriage automatically revokes the existing Will (unless specific provision is made in the Will).


Most married couples own property jointly as "joint tenants", if one of you dies the property automatically passes to the other, regardless of what is in any Will. It is often the case in the event of separation, that the separating couple would prefer to leave their respective share of the property in a Will to someone else, perhaps to children. In order for such a gift to take effect it is necessary to change the joint ownership by way of "severance of tenancy" so that you are "tenants in common" where you would each have your own specified share of the property, which you can leave to someone else in your Will. You do not both need to agree to the severance provided that the other has been given notice. Our Solicitors can deal with the severance on your behalf.

What happens if you die without a Will?

If you die without a Will in the UK you die "intestate", which means that your estate is administered in accordance with the Intestacy Rules. The division of your estate and possessions will be determined according to these rules which are often impersonal, inflexible and do not reflect today's family structures.

The Intestacy Rules may not allocate your estate and possessions in accordance with your wishes, resulting in your nearest and dearest not benefiting as you wished.

Couples living together and partners who have not registered a Civil Partnership have no automatic right to a share of their partner's estate on death under the Intestacy Rules. Also if you are separated or your divorce has yet to be finalised, your spouse is still entitled to inherit from your estate. Intestacy Rules do not make provision for stepchildren of the deceased either.

At Forbes our Wills and Trusts Solicitors can ensure that the beneficiaries you have chosen inherit your estate as you wish.

Making a Will is the surest way anyone has of providing for others after their death. Our Will Writing Solicitors will help you plan for the transfer of your estate and possessions on death taking into account your personal family and financial circumstances. We will guide you through the options available including advice on the tax consequences of your proposals, to ensure the smooth transfer of wealth from one generation to the next.

For a consultation with a specialist Wills, Probate, Tax or Trusts Lawyer please call Forbes Solicitors on freephone 0800 975 2463 or contact us by email today.

04 Mar 2019

Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts


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