Frequently Asked Questions
Here's some faqs for three of our most common practice areas...
What is an executor?
An executor is a person (or multiple people) who will administrate your estate from the wishes contained in your Will once you pass away. This means they will need to notify people that you have died, apply for probate, administer your funeral and other wishes and distribute any assets. Most people choose a close family member or friend whom they trust to be an executor. It may be best to pick somebody who feels comfortable completing paperwork and getting in contact with relevant parties. Being an executor does not prohibit you from being a beneficiary to a Will either.
Where do I keep my Will documents?
Once created, your Will can be stored in a safe place at home. However, many people prefer for it to be stored elsewhere. Pro-Law offer to store original Wills safely at our office. This is at no additional cost when you have created your Will with us. It is also important that your executor(s) know where it is stored. If you chose to store your Will with us then we can write to your executors to inform them of this.
How often should I update my Will?
It is important that your Will reflects your wishes when you die. Therefore, it is recommended that any current Will is updated if circumstances change in your life. This could include divorce, a new partner you wish to be a beneficiary, or new grandchildren being born who you wish to include. However, it is generally considered that a Will should be reviewed (and updated if needed) every five years. This allows you to reflect on whether any of your wishes may have changed. It is also important to include a guardianship clause in a Will if you have children under the age of 18. This means you can choose who looks after your children if the worst happens.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s)
What is a donor and what is an attorney and what roles do they each play?
The donor is the person who the LPA relates to. The attorney is the person who will make the decisions once the donor has lost capacity to do so. However, with a property and financial affairs LPA, at the request of the donor, it can come into force straightaway while he or she still has capacity. The attorney(s) then take complete control if the donor subsequently loses capacity.
When does an LPA expire?
The LPA ceases when the donor dies, therefore the attorney’s role also then ceases. A Will is then required to carry out the administration of the deceased person’s estate. The previous attorney can act as an executor if the Will has specified as such.
When should I create an LPA?
It’s best to create an LPA in good time so that it is in place for when the donor does lose capacity. If the donor has been diagnosed with a progressive condition, such as dementia, it is best to complete an LPA as soon as possible to allow a close family member or friend to have easy access to the donor’s affairs. However, there is certainly no harm, and it can be considered sensible, to create an LPA without having been diagnosed with a condition. If you are unsure whether the time is right – please do get in contact and we can discuss this further.
What is Probate?
Probate is the process of proving that a Will, that has been created by the deceased person, is valid, and confirming the executors chosen have the authority to administer the state. However, it does depend on the size of the estate and assets as to whether probate needs to obtained. Most commonly though, probate is required to be obtained.
What is a Grant of Probate?
A Grant of Probate is the document that is issued to you by the Probate Registry. The document confirms your right to administer the deceased’s estate. This includes cashing the estates assets and distributing them as outlined in the Will.
As an executor, do I have to sort it all myself?
Whilst an executor can go through the process of Probate themselves, many instruct legal professionals. This can ease the pressure on the executors as the process can seem confusing and complicated. Probate matters is something we regularly deal with at Pro-Law, so do get in touch to see if we can help.