Questions about a Will document
If you die without leaving a Will, your wishes are not considered in regards to distribution of your estate and who should be the Guardian of your children. A person who dies without leaving a will is called an intestate person and in this case the law will decides how their estate should be shared.
An executor fulfils the wishes you have specified in your Will. Anyone over the age of 18 can be an executor and this can include members of your family. You may also wish to choose friends, an Imam or another professional such as a teacher, solicitor or accountant.
While it is permissible to appoint one executor, it is better to appoint two or more, so that if one of your executors dies before you do, the surviving executor(s) can take on the responsibility. Although you may appoint up to four executors, its worth noting that having many executors may slow down the administration significantly as they all need to be present to fulfil your wishes.
The Executors responsibilities include:
- Gathering all the assets of your estate and getting them valued
- Applying for a grant of probate from court which gives them authority to deal with your assets
- Ensuring that all your debts, bills, inheritance taxes and funeral expenses are paid out of money in the estate
- Distributing the remainder of your estate in accordance with your Will
- Fulfilling any other wishes you have specified
A guardian is someone you have named in your Will as the person you would like to be responsible for your children if they are orphaned before reaching the age of 18. If when you pass away, your spouse is still alive, they will normally continue to have full responsibility for the children. However, if neither parent survives, then the guardians you have appointed will take on the responsibility for your children.
By appointing guardians you can ensure that your children are looked after by the people that you have chosen as the best people for the job. Its important to consider the parenting skills of the prospective guardian, the family environment and you need to have their permission to act as your children’s guardian before writing them into your Will.
A trust is a legal arrangement that allows your estate to be looked after for the benefit of the beneficiaries named in the Will. Trusts are often used to hold assets for children until they are old enough to receive them.
Having a trust in place can help to reduce inheritance tax liability and protect your house from being sold in order to pay for residential care. In order to set up a trust, you need to hire a solicitor.
Trustees are the persons responsible for looking after your assets in the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Usually, they are the same people you have appointed as Executors and you may wish to consider your appointed Guardian as a trustee as well.
Your witnesses will witness the signing of your will so that in case there is any question that you wrote it after your death, you will have people to testify that you did indeed write this will and that you were in a sound state of mind when you did this.
Witnesses cannot be people entitled to inherit, so most family members are disqualified from this responsibility. The pool of witnesses has to be from friends and those who are not family members. This would also exclude extended family.
Your witnesses do not need to know the content of your will but they should be two independent people aged at least 18 years old. A witness cannot be blind or a beneficiary of your Will.
You can make a gift of some part of your estate either specifically stating its value or generally (I need to verify the proportions for this?).
You can also make a gift to a charity of your choice which is exempt from any inheritance tax. You can choose to a gift money of a particular value or items of value (e.g. jewellery).
A Will which has been dated, signed and witnessed in accordance with the Wills Act 1837 is legally valid in the UK.
You must store your Will in a safe and secure place and inform your executors of this location.
A will can be changed by writing a new valid Will or making a valid amendment (called a Codicil).
Our service has been developed based on Islamic guidelines and reviewed by Islamic scholars and Legal professionals. We are constantly reviewing this process to ensure it keeps up with the law and addresses all of your key questions about an Islamic Will.
Our online system takes you through a series of simple questions and delivers a bespoke Will document based on your specific wishes. You will also receive supporting documentation which explains key terms within your Will.
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