Understanding Wills

Your questions answered

We are specialist in writing Wills and advising clients on how best to plan their estates, from the smallest to the largest and most complex. Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Wills. If you have other questions, or would like a consultation, please contact us.


What is a will?

Your will lets you decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death.

What happens if I die and haven’t made a Will?

If you die without leaving a Will you are said to have died intestate. Without a Will a set of statutory rules (the laws of Intestacy) are imposed which specify how assets are distributed to family members in a fixed order. If you have no family members then your assets will go to the Crown.

The danger of dying intestate is that you will have no say in who gets what. Family members who you may not wish to could inherit your assets. Likewise, people who are not blood relatives, such as unmarried partners, may not receive anything.

It is critical that you make a Will to avoid this situation.

Please see our page on the Laws of Intestacy.

Can I appoint someone to look after my children in a Will?

You can appoint guardians for children under 18 as part of your Will. This will ensure that should you die your children will be looked after by the people you choose and this important decision will not be left to chance or decided by the courts.

By including this provision in your Will it can also help to avoid disputes between opposing family members who would all like to help. By stating your wishes in a Will you can make it clear exactly what you would like to happen.

Why not make a Home made Will?

Home made Wills are rarely suitable. Even in the simplest cases, errors in writing the Will can make them invalid. Trying to save a small amount of money upfront can result in much higher costs later on.

There are a number of ways of having a will written. The main thing to consider when choosing a method of will writing is; will it be effective when you die? That is, will your estate be passed on to the people you choose.

All too often incorrectly drawn up wills are found to be invalid and disregarded by the courts, or at best ineffective. This can lead to the estate being treated as if you had died intestate, i.e. without a will. Under the laws of intestacy your assets are distributed according to a statutory set of rules which leave a person’s estate to their next of kin in a fixed order.

How often should I update my Will?

If you have already made a Will it is important that it is kept up to date to reflect your circumstances. You should review your Will whenever your circumstances change in any significant way.

Things which may affect your Will include:

  • Divorce or separation
  • Having children
  • Buying or selling a large asset such as a house
  • Marriage

As a general rule it is recommended that you have your Will checked at least every 5 years to ensure that it still reflects your requirements.

What are Mirror Wills?

A good example is when a husband and wife want to leave everything to the other spouse, they usually make Mirror Wills.

Mirror Wills relates to when both parties have the same Will but in reverse, for example, they leave everything to the other partner and thereafter to the children.

It is not possible to have a joint Will for a couple. Each individual must have their own Will, although the cost of making mirror Wills is usually less than the cost of making two Wills independently.

I am remarried, can I leave my property to my children from an earlier marriage but still allow my current spouse to live in it?

If you have remarried and have children from a previous marriage it is possible to ensure the financial security of your current spouse whilst still protecting your children’s inheritance.

To achieve this you need a special type of Will called a ‘Life Interest Will’. Please contact us or see our separate page in Life Interest Wills.



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Clients choose Maclaren Warner for our unwavering commitment to excellence, personalised service, and proven track record of achieving favourable outcomes. With a dedicated team of experienced solicitors, we offer tailored legal solutions, compassionate guidance, and unwavering support, ensuring our clients receive the highest level of care and expertise throughout their legal journey.

How to contact us

Our specialists are ready and on hand to support you through the process. Talk to us today to find out more.

68 Nottingham Road,
Eastwood, Nottingham,
NG16 3NQ
First Floor Finance Block
Wharncliffe Road
Ilkeston, Derbyshire

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