The Importance of a Will: Why You Should Make a Will While You’re Young

importance of a will

When you turn 18 in the UK, you become a legal adult, meaning you can make important decisions about your life, such as where you live, what you study, and how you spend your money. However, many overlook one aspect of adult life: creating a Will.

While it may seem like a task for the elderly or the terminally ill, writing a Will is something every adult should consider. This article will discuss what a Will is and why writing one is crucial as soon as you reach legal age.

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document stating how you would like your assets and property distributed upon your death and identifies who should be your children’s legal guardian. While having a Will isn’t likely to resolve every issue that may come up after your death, your Will addresses many of those issues.

Reasons to Make a Will While You’re Young

Protect Your Assets

One of the primary reasons you should write a Will as soon as you reach legal age is to protect your assets. Many times, young people believe that they don’t have enough assets to worry about a Will, but that’s not necessarily true.

Your assets may include your bank accounts, investments, property, and personal belongings. Your Will ensures that your assets are distributed per your wishes after your death. Without it, your assets will be distributed according to intestacy laws, which may not align with your wishes.

Provide For Your Loved Ones

Another reason you should create a Will as soon as you reach legal age is to provide for your loved ones. Your loved ones may include your spouse or partner, children, parents, siblings, and other relatives or friends.

A Will allows you to specify who should receive your assets and how much they should receive. You can also include provisions for minor children, such as appointing a guardian to care for them if you pass away before they reach legal age.

Avoid Family Disputes

Creating a Will can help prevent family disputes after your death. As we mentioned, your assets are distributed according to intestacy laws if you die without a Will. This distribution may not reflect your family’s wishes or expectations, which can lead to disagreements and disputes among family members.

These disputes can be costly and time-consuming to resolve. By creating a Will, you can provide clarity and guidance for your loved ones and help prevent family disputes.

Choose an Executor

An executor is responsible for administering your estate after your death. They will pay off debts, taxes, and expenses and distribute your assets according to your wishes. By creating a Will, you can choose an executor you trust who can fulfil their duties. Without a Will, the court will appoint an executor, who may not be your chosen person.

Make Funeral Arrangements

Creating a Will can also help you make funeral arrangements. In your Will, you can specify whether you want to be buried or cremated, where you want to be buried, and what kind of funeral service you want.

You can also provide instructions for your funeral expenses, such as whether you wish to have a simple or elaborate funeral. By including these instructions in your Will, you can help alleviate the burden on your loved ones during a difficult time.

Keep Your Will Up-To-Date

Creating a Will is not a one-time task. Therefore, you should regularly review and update your Will to ensure it reflects your current wishes and circumstances.

You may need to update your Will if you get married or divorced, have children, acquire new assets, or if there are any changes to tax laws or other regulations. By keeping your Will up-to-date, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.

Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors Can Help You Start Planning for the Future

Creating a Will is crucial for every adult, regardless of age or health status. It may be uncomfortable to think about your own mortality, but creating a Will can provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones. In addition, it’s never too early to start planning for the future; writing a Will is essential to that process.

When writing a Will, it’s essential to seek professional legal advice. At Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors, we will help ensure your Will is valid, legally binding, and reflects your wishes. We can also help you navigate complex legal issues like inheritance tax, trusts, and guardianship arrangements.

Contact us today for a consultation.


When Should I Review My Will?

review your will

Creating a Will is crucial for anyone who wants to ensure that their estate and assets are distributed according to their wishes after their death. In addition, a Will can help prevent disputes among family members and provide peace of mind for the testator, knowing that their affairs are in order.

However, creating a Will is not a one-time task. Reviewing and updating your Will regularly is essential to ensure it still reflects your current wishes and circumstances. This article will discuss what a Will is and the most common reasons you should review your Will.

Why Make a Will?

A Will is a legal document you write to communicate what you would like to happen to your estate; this includes money, property, and personal possessions in the event of your death. Wills can also include essential details such as naming an executor and whom you wish to be your children’s guardian.

By making a Will, you can help ensure that your family and friends are cared for after your death. Dying without a Will can make it hard for your family to know your wishes. Also, planning can help avoid intestacy rules, minimise inheritance tax, and protect your dependents.

Reviewing Your Will

While writing a Will is important, it’s just as important to ensure that you review it regularly, ensuring it’s up to date and reflects your current wishes. Failing to do so could cause problems for your loved ones after your death. Here are some of the circumstances that should prompt updating your Will.

Changes in Personal Relationships

Changes in romantic and family relationships are one of the primary reasons to review your Will. Some significant life events that should require an update to your Will may include the following:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • The birth or adoption of a child
  • The death of a family member

Changes in Your Executor or Beneficiaries

Your executor is responsible for administering your estate and distributing your assets according to your wishes. If your executor has passed away or can no longer fulfil their duties, you may need to update your Will and appoint a new executor. It’s also advisable to review your Will periodically to ensure that your executor is still the best person for the job.

Similarly, circumstances can change regarding beneficiaries. For example, you may need to update beneficiaries under the following circumstances.

  • If a beneficiary dies, you must update your Will to reflect who should receive their share of your estate.
  • If a beneficiary can’t properly handle large amounts of money, you may leave their share of your estate in a trust instead of leaving it directly to them.
  • If a beneficiary no longer needs their share of your estate, they may wish to have their portion of your estate passed on to someone else, such as their children.

Changes in Finances

Another reason why you may need to review your Will is if your financial circumstances have changed significantly. For example, if you have come into a large sum of money, you may want to update your Will to include specific bequests or gifts to family members or charities. Alternatively, if you have sold a property or business, a Will revision is necessary to reflect these changes to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Changes in Tax Laws

UK tax laws are subject to frequent changes, and it’s essential to review your Will regularly to ensure it is still tax-efficient. For instance, if you have a large estate, you should update your Will to take advantage of any tax exemptions or reliefs available. Similarly, if there have been any changes to inheritance tax rules or capital gains tax, you should review your Will to ensure it is still in line with the current laws.


Finally, even if your circumstances have stayed the same, reviewing your Will every few years is still advisable. The passage of time can change your priorities, values, and relationships, and it is essential to ensure that your Will still reflects your wishes. Regularly reviewing your Will can also help you identify any errors or omissions that may have occurred since the last review and ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes.

Let Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors Help Keep Your Will Updated

Creating a Will is essential for anyone who wants to ensure that their estate is distributed according to their wishes after death. However, it is equally important to review your Will regularly to ensure that it still reflects your current wishes and circumstances. By reviewing your Will regularly, you can ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes and provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.

Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors is here to help you make a Will and keep it updated to ensure that it reflects your current wishes. We will help you make a Will to protect and provide for your family and ensure you don’t pay unnecessary tax or care fees.

Contact us today for a consultation.


What is a Mutual Will?

mutual will

We all know the importance of making a Will to ensure that your estate is distributed according to your last wishes. With all the different types of Wills,, it may be difficult to decide which type of Will best suits your situation. One type of Will available is a mutual Will, which is often confused with a mirror Will.

Despite the confusion between a mutual and a mirror Will, they are very different so it’s essential to know the difference between them. 

What is a Mirror Will?

A mirror Will is exactly that.  It “mirrors” another Will, however, each person has their own Will.

An example of this is a married couple who instruct us to draft two mirror Wills for them where the husband leaves everything to the wife, and the wife leaves everything to the husband when they die. Then, after the surviving spouse dies, everything is left to their children.  Although both parties have identical Wills, they are both free to change their Wills at any time in future.

What is a Mutual Will?

A mutual Will is a Will written by two people. However, unlike a mirror Will, both parties are in agreement that they will not amend or revoke the Will, even if one of the parties passes away.

Before creating a mutual Will, both parties must show clear evidence that they understand that neither of them will be able to change or revoke their Will without the other party’s consent. If one party loses capacity or dies, it is impossible to get consent therefore the Will of the party that has capacity cannot be changed.  It is essential to seek advice from a qualified solicitor before making a mutual Will so that the parties can understand that they will be bound by that Will.  The beneficiaries of the first one to die can challenge any future Will of the survivor which is expensive.

What to Include in a Mutual Will

A conversation between both parties on what you should include in a mutual Will is vital. It’s also best to consult a solicitor at this point.

Some things you should consider include:

  • The value of any property and possessions owned by both parties
  • Money that both parties have
  • Who should benefit from the Will
  • Guardians for minor children
  • Who should be the executor

Updating a Mutual Will

As with any type of Will, you should review and update it every five years as well as after significant life changes such as a marriage, divorce, having a child, or purchasing a property.   A mutual Will can only be changed if both parties consent to it.

Advantages of a Mutual Will

A mutual Will eliminates the risk of the surviving party changing the Will after the first party dies. An example of how this could be beneficial is in the instance when a couple marries and each has children from a previous relationship.  Each parent would want to ensure that, should they die first, their children aren’t excluded from benefiting from the estate that both parties accumulated in their lifetime. This could happen, for example, if the surviving spouse  remarries. If this were to happen, a mirror Will could be revoked and the children of the first to die might be excluded from a future Will of the second to die. The benefit of a mutual Will  means that the interests in the original Will cannot be changed, therefore the children of the first to die would also benefit as their share would be protected.

Disadvantages of Mutual Wills

Due to the complex legalities and the increased risk of legal disputes arising from mutual Wills, they are not common and many solicitors don’t typically recommend them to their clients. The main drawback to a mutual Will is the lack of flexibility when circumstances change. This is particularly troublesome if there has been a substantial amount of time between the deaths of the two testators. A mutual will can limit the surviving party’s ability to plan for a lifetime plan regarding gifts. 

Other Options

An alternative to a mutual Will is using a Trust. A life interest trust would allow the surviving party to benefit from the Trust during their life and safeguard the share of the first one to die at the same time. It also allows the surviving party to make lifetime gifts from their own share of the estate or change their Will should they want to do so.

Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors is here to help you protect you and your assets

When making your Will, it’s essential to ensure that it is well prepared and addresses all possible scenarios to minimise the possibility of your Will being challenged. That makes it all the more important to engage the services of an experienced, qualified solicitor to ensure your Will is written correctly.

At Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors, we know that clients’ circumstances are different, so we take a personalised approach when writing a Will to ensure it’s right for each client.

Contact us today to arrange a meeting.

Will Wills

What Are My Duties as an Executor Under a Will?

clients talking to a will executor

There’s no arguing that making preparations for one’s own passing is a challenging exercise. The importance of making these plans cannot be underplayed or understated – there aren’t many tasks that are more serious or more important to do right than ensuring someone’s final wishes are followed.

In this light, it’s easy to understand why the role of an Executor is vital as it’s the job to handle all the relevant legal tasks that come with a death.

What are those tasks?

Whether you are trying to pick Executors for your own Will or deciding whether or not to accept the role as someone else’s Executor, it’s important to be fully aware of the role’s responsibilities. This article will guide you through all the duties expected of an Executor.

Immediate Duties After the Death

Generally the first two things that an Executor must do are officially register the death and arrange for the funeral.

In England, registering a death must be done within 5 days and is done at the nearest registry office.

Settling the Finances of the Deceased

The exact details will vary from case to case but ascertaining the finances of the deceased will generally begin with a schedule of their assets and liabilities.  We advise that you make a comprehensive list of everything the deceased owned and owed. Valuations from professionals such as Estate Agents, Stockbrokers or Jewellers to obtain the values at the date of death might be required.

Inheritance Tax

If the value of the estate is over the tax threshold, inheritance tax will have to be paid.  The tax payable will vary from case to case.

Settling Debts

It’s an Executor’s responsibility to ensure that all of the deceased’s debts are paid before the remainder can be distributed to the beneficiaries.

Executors can be held personally liable if they distribute assets to beneficiaries without taking steps to locate and settle all relevant debts held by the deceased. This situation can be avoided by placing a Section 27 notice in the London Gazette and the local paper where the deceased lived and owned property. If no creditors come forward within two months, they have done their due diligence. They can distribute assets to beneficiaries incurring personal liability for debts that are brought to their attention after that date.

Grant of Probate

A grant of probate is a document which officially proves the validity of both the Will and the right of the Executor to handle the deceased’s estate. Some properties such as a deceased’s house, shares and ISAs require the Executor to apply for the Grant of Probate.


Lastly, given how much power an Executor has over an estate, transparency and accountability are critical. It is necessary to keep records of every transaction taken and to compile a complete set of accounts for the estate. 

Always Stay Informed so that you can Make the Right Choice

While we’ve covered some of the fundamental expectations and responsibilities of an Executor, every estate is different.  Some are simple and others complicated.

That’s where Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors comes in. We are able to help each step of the way when administering a person’s estate.

Don’t leave room for uncertainty and doubt when it comes to your final affairs. Contact us today to arrange a consultation.


A Guide to Choosing a Will Executor

A Guide to Choosing a Will Executor

Creating a Will can be a challenging task. It is overwhelming and mentally exhausting trying to figure out who gets what when it comes to your estate. For some, the most challenging part could be figuring out who to name the Executor. We understand how difficult it is and how important it is to nominate the right person. 

The Executor will sort your property after you pass away and carry out the instructions stated in your Will. While you can choose who you like, there are some things you want to consider before naming that person. 

This article will cover important details to help you choose the Executor of your Will. We hope this will help you make the right choice for you and your estate. 

Choosing Your Executor 

Some people are unaware of who has been chosen to manage their estate once their loved one has passed away. As a result, it can be challenging for grief-stricken family members or friends to find the relevant information to deal with the legalities surrounding their death. This often leads to lengthy delays and frustration for all concerned.

That said, appointing an Executor is not something that should be taken lightly. This person will potentially hold the keys to your whole world when you’re gone. You need someone you trust

When you decide who you want to appoint as your Executor, make sure you communicate this to them so they are not blindsided, and may prepare for their role. 

What is the Role of the Executor?

The primary role of your Executor is to ensure that your estate is passed on to those who are entitled after death. The secondary role would be to see to it that all debts are settled. distributed as requested by you. 

What Makes a Good Executor?

When choosing a good Executor, it must be someone that you trust. This person is going to handle all of your affairs after your death and have access to all sorts of important information. You want to make sure this person is capable of being strong enough once you are gone to follow your instructions in your will and handle any disagreements among beneficiaries fairly. 

Do You Have to Explain Your Choice?

The short answer is no.  It is a good idea to think carefully about who you choose.  This way, you can reassure friends and family that this person is trustworthy enough for such an important job.  There are no rules about who you can choose as long as they are over 18, not disqualified from acting as an Executor (e.g., bankrupt or mentally incapable), and likely to accept – remember that they can decline to act if they wish.

Do You Have to Have an Executor?

Some people might not need one if they have a small estate.  Asset Providers such as some banks may be willing to accept an indemnity from the Executors.  We recommend that you nominate an Executor in your Will, because handling your estate after your passing requires wisdom, dedication, and patience.

What if You Don’t Have Anyone to Be An Executor?

If you do not have anyone who can be your Executor, you will be appointed a government official called a Public Trustee. A Public Trustee will also step in if you have assigned an Executor who can no longer act, for example because they have lost capacity.  

Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors advise that you appoint charities who will always ensure that your Will is administered if you do not have any family to appoint.

When You’ve Chosen an Executor 

It is important that the person who you have chosen knows their role and what they need to do to administer your estate.  Alternatively, they can appoint a solicitor to administer the estate on your behalf.
Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors are at the ready with an experienced and considerate team to assist you with your estate planning needs. Contact us for more information about writing your Will, as well as your other legal needs for Probate, Lasting powers of attorney and Equity Release.


Who Can Witness a Will?


A Will is a vital part of estate planning. Your Will is the document that lets your loved ones know your last wishes. 

The Purpose of a Witness

The purpose of a witness to a person’s Will is to ensure:

  • That the person’s Will is not forged.  They do this by both seeing the person sign their Will in their presence.
  • That the loved one was not forced to sign a Will.

How Someone Witnesses a Will

Witnessing a Will is a simple process. The person making the Will and the witnesses must be present at the same time to sign a Will.   They must also write their full name, address, and occupation in case they need to be contacted in the future.  Solicitors near the person’s home can be contacted to find out whether they drafted the Will.  This can help in locating a witness if the Probate Registry require proof that they were present when the Will was signed.

The responsibilities of a Witness

After signing the Will, a witness’ assistance may be required if the validity of the Will is questioned after a person has passed away.

A witness may be called on if there are claims that someone forged the signature.  The courts may ask the witness to sign an affidavit confirming the circumstances in which the Will was signed.  

Who Can You Choose as a Witness?

Anyone over 18 can witness a Will as long as they don’t have a gift in the Will.   Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors advise that you choose someone competent, trustworthy, and mentally capable. You can choose from:

  • Friends, neighbours, coworkers
  • Relatives who aren’t included in your Will
  • A medical provider
  • A solicitor can not only help you write your Will.  They can also act as a witness together with another person.  Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors will draft your Will and ensure that it witnessed correctly whether you sign it in the office or off the premises.
  • An Executor can act as a witness as long as they are not listed as a beneficiary

Certain people cannot witness your Will. Some of these people include:

  • Your spouse or civil partner if they are a beneficiary in your Will.
  • Someone who is blind, as they must be able to see you sign your Will

When a Medical Practitioner Should Witness Your Will

In England and Wales, it is recommended that the elderly or anyone very ill request a Medical Provider to witness their Will. If you have a terminal illness or are mentally ill, your Executors might have to show that you had capacity to sign your Will.  A Medical Practitioner can help prove that you knew that you were making your Will.

What if one of my witnesses has died or is unable to serve as a witness? 

Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors advise that you have a new Will drafted any of your witnesses dies.  This is important because there might not be anyone to prove that you signed your Will if your witnesses pass away.  This would be the case if a couple witnessed your Will and they were involved in the same accident.

Let Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors Ensure Your Will is Valid

Ensuring that your Will is valid is essential to prevent your family from having to deal with situations such as ‘if your Will is challenged’.  Having an experienced solicitor on hand to ensure that your Will is properly written and all legal requirements are met can give you peace of mind knowing that your final wishes will be carried out.

At Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors, we know the importance of planning for the future to protect your family. Elizabeth Middleton is a qualified solicitor with over ten years of experience in Wills, Probate, and Equity Release. When you work with our team we provide you with holistic advice and ensure that you have the correct up to date tax and estate planning advice.  We also ensure that your Will reflects your family dynamics.

Contact us today so that we can help you.


Should I Leave Money to Charity in My Will?


When people think about estate planning, they often focus on leaving their assets to family and friends.  However, if there is a charitable organisation close to your heart, you can list them as a beneficiary together with your loved ones.

Legacy giving allows you to leave a monetary donation or a valuable item to charity in your Will. Doing so results in many benefits not only to the charity you are helping but also to your estate as well. 

How To Leave a Gift to Charity In Your Will

Whether it’s a sum of cash, a property or any other asset, there are different ways you can leave your gift to a charity in your Will:

  1. Name a specific charity. When naming a charity in your Will, include their name, address, and registered charity numbers to ensure that the funds are directed to the correct organisation.
  2. Let your Executors that you have appointed in your Will choose. If you choose this route, make sure your wishes are clear so that you guide them effectively to enable them to choose the right charities.

Can My Family Contest My Donation?

Under the Inheritance Act 1975, certain people can contest your Will ( including your donation) if they feel they are entitled to a financial provision from your estate. Here are some of the people who can make a claim under your Estate:

  • Your civil partner or spouse (Current or former if they haven’t remarried or aren’t in a new civil partnership)
  • Someone you were in a relationship with for at least two years before the the date of your death provided you are living together as husband and wife.
  • Your children (Biological, step-children or adopted,)
  • Anyone else who is financially dependent on you

Charitable Donations and Inheritance Tax

Charitable donations can reduce the amount of inheritance tax that will be paid by your estate. However, you should speak to a professional solicitor to ensure that your estate is eligible for the tax reduction because special rules apply.

Can I Require the Charity to Use My Gift in a Particular Way?

Although you can specifically state how you want your gift to be used by the charity, it’s best to speak directly to the charity instead of leaving the instructions in your Will. This will prevent instances of a charity not accepting a gift because they are unable to comply with the conditions you have stated in your Will.

Should a Solicitor Be Notified When You Leave a Gift to Charity in Your Will?

Speaking with your solicitor when leaving a gift to charity can ensure that all of your wishes are reflected in your Will.  The solicitor can also provide you with guidance about the most tax-efficient to distribute your estate to your loved ones.

Do you have any more questions? Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors Can Help.

Including a charity dear to you in your Will allows you to support causes that you care for even after you’ve passed away. Your loved ones could also benefit from tax reductions, and you’re creating a legacy for yourself.

At Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors, we believe that everyone should be treated with kindness and respect and should receive personalised service to meet all of their needs. Our team has over ten years of experience in Wills, Probate, and Equity release, and it’s our mission to provide clients with peace of mind through a kind and caring expert legal services.
Contact us today for a consultation in our private office in Winnersh Triangle or in the comfort of your own home.


Will and Probate: Contesting a Will After Probate


A Grant of Probate is issued to give the Executors of an estate the authority to distribute the assets of someone who has passed away. The ideal time to contest a Will is prior to probate being granted. But what happens if you weren’t aware of what was in the Will until probate had begun?

It’s not too late to contest a Will after probate has begun, but there are certain time limits depending on your grounds for contesting a Will. This article will provide you with important information on how to contest a Will after probate.

Grounds for Contesting a Will After Probate

While every situation is different, there are many grounds for contesting a Will after probate, some of which include:

  • Lack of Testamentary Capacity — The Testator is the person who made the Will. Lack of Testamentary Capacity means that the person claiming alleges that the Testator didn’t have the mental capacity to do so.
  • Coercion — The Testator was forced into making the Will.
  • Fraud — The Will was forged or, in other words, not signed by the Testator.
  • Improperly Executed Will — Proper execution of a Will requires that it be signed by the Testator in the presence of two witnesses, all of whom sign in front of each other.
  • You’re Left Out of the Will — If you are a close dependant or relative (spouse, partner, child, or dependant) of the Testator, and you believe you are entitled to a portion of their estate.
  • Improperly Administered Estate — This occurs when the Executor has kept a portion of the money from the estate for themselves, incorrectly paid a beneficiary, failed to pay out money under the terms of a Trust established by the Will, or failed to keep proper records.

How to Contest a Will After Probate is Granted

If probate has been granted and you believe you have legitimate grounds to contest the Will, here are some steps you should take to make a claim.

Gather the Appropriate Documents

You will need a copy of the Wil. If the Executor withholds the Will, your solicitor can help you get a copy. 

Your Relationship with the Deceased

Not everyone can contest a Will. Only family members, dependants, beneficiaries, creditors, or someone who has been promised something in the Will are able to contest it.

Your Grounds for Contesting the Will

Was the Will invalid? Was the Testator coerced into making the Will? Identify what the legal basis is for your claim. If you’re not sure, have a discussion with your solicitor. They will be able to help you establish grounds for contesting the Will and will let you know if you don’t have legal grounds to back your claim.

What are the Time Limits for Your Claim?

Depending on the type of claim, there are specific time limits in place. These time limits are based on The Limitations Act 1980.

  • Financial Provision Claims — Must be made within six months of the issuance of the Grant of Probate
  • Validity of the Will — No set time limit
  • Forgery or Fraud — No set time limit

Decide if You’re Willing to Go to Court

In the ideal situation, you will be able to negotiate out of Court. Not only can the court be costly, but it can also be time-consuming. You may also find that the Judge may dismiss your case if they feel that you are delaying the Probate process for malicious reasons.

Contesting a Will? Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors Can Help

When a loved one passes away, it’s a very stressful and emotional time.  In addition, If there are any  surprises in a Will, things can get even messier. Speaking with an experienced solicitor about your grounds for contesting a Will can save you time and money. They can tell you if you have a valid claim to contest the Will after probate is granted, how long contesting the Will may take, how to do so, and what your chance of success would be.

At Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors, we know how daunting visiting a solicitor can be, especially during a difficult time in your life. That’s why we provide a friendly, comfortable environment where you can relax, knowing that our experienced team will listen to you and provide you with expert advice.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our private office in Winnersh Triangle or the comfort of your own home 


Can a Person be Both Executor and Beneficiary?


Although it can be tempting to ignore, the fact is that we must all prepare for our eventual mortality. Equally true is the fact that our old age is the time in our lives when we least want to deal with stress and complications. It’s not surprising therefore that so many people put off making a Will, only to find the process much harder later in life, or that they are burdening loved ones with avoidable legal complications.

We know from experience however that many people put off creating a Will not out of idleness, but because they are daunted by the admittedly complex legal process. 

Fortunately, understanding the “legalese” of Will-making is simpler than it looks, and this article will guide you through two of the most relevant terms – “Executor” and “beneficiary” – as well as answering a common question connected with the terms – “Can someone be both?”

What Is an Executor? 

An Executor is a person granted legal authority to administer and control the estate of someone who has died in their Will. The person who is creating a Will decides how many Executors to appoint.   

Once appointed, the Executor is responsible for making sure that the deceased’s wishes are followed and for gathering and administering the deceased’s assets.  They also need to make sure that the debts are paid off after which they can distribute the remainder to the beneficiaries stated in the Will.

If there are no Executors mentioned in a Will, then any of the listed beneficiaries in the Will can legally apply to become the Executor. If there is no Will, all assets pass under the intestacy rules.  These are government rules that state who will benefit.  For example, if a person left a spouse and children, they will both benefit from the estate if it is above the threshold. 

How to Choose Executors

Technically, you can appoint anyone over the age of 18 to be your Executor. Given the importance of the role, it’s vital to choose a candidate who is unbiased, reliable, and trustworthy. It’s also necessary to choose someone who is willing and able to fill the role – choosing someone likely to die before you do or someone who actively doesn’t want the job can leave your estate with no valid executors. 

Although you can appoint up to four, most people choose to have only two Executors. Two Executors are ideal because decisions are more easily made when fewer people are involved.  The other two can be appointed as substitutes or a backup in case something unexpected happens and the chosen ones are unable to act.

What Is a Beneficiary?

A beneficiary is any person who receives anything in your Will, whether it be money, gifts, or property. In other words, they’re called beneficiaries because they directly benefit from being named in the Will. 

Can Someone Be Both Executor and Beneficiary? 

Yes.  In fact it’s highly common for Executors to be beneficiaries in a Will.  They  tend to be the people closest to us in our lives, for example, pouses, partners, children or close friends. 

However, choosing a legal professional as an Executor is also very common. This removes a major responsibility from your family during a stressful time, and a trusted lawyer can sometimes be more reliable for distributing assets fairly and impartially. 

Lastly it’s critical to note that while a beneficiary can serve as an executor, they cannot serve as a witness. To be valid, a Will must be signed by both you and two impartial witnesses.. 

Don’t Put off Something so Important!

As we mentioned, we’ve learned from our ten years of experience in the field that holding off making a Will can ultimately produce serious problems that could be easily avoided with preparation. 

At Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors, we specialise in Wills, Probate, and Equity release.  Please contact us today so that we can see how we can help you!


What to Consider When Making Your Will


While the process of writing up a Will is not necessarily a complicated one, a small but crucial mistake along the way can lead to serious consequences and complications when it comes to fulfilling your last wishes.

In light of that fact, we’ve prepared this article to walk you through all the most important steps and considerations you must keep in mind while preparing your Will. By knowing these steps you’ll be better prepared to make simple informed decisions. now that can save a mountain of headache and problems in the future.

Compiling Your List of Assets

The first step in the process is compiling a list of your assets. Assets refer to anything of value that you own, from liquid assets like money in the bank, financial assets like stocks and bonds, or physical assets such as property or vehicles. 

It’s important to consider everything you own, including items that may not have financial value, but may hold important sentimental value. A broken old watch or favourite piece of furniture can still cause strife if multiple family members want regardless of financial value.

Detailing Beneficiaries

Just as the first step in creating a Will is making a complete list of all assets, the next step is to prepare a thorough list of the beneficiaries. Who do you want to receive your assets after you’re gone? If there’s anyone you want included, the best way to see those wishes carried out is to make sure they’re on your list together with clear instructions on what they should receive.

Choosing an Executor

The next critical step is choosing an Executor.  This is the person who is legally responsible for carrying out your final wishes and distributing your assets after your death. Naturally, it’s important to choose someone reliable and trustworthy, since they’ll be handling a lot of very important work..

It’s also important to choose someone who can be trusted to be fair and impartial.  If you know that your two children don’t get along with each other and fight over everything, it’s probably not wise to select one of them to be your Executor. Likewise, if your children are very young when you write your Will and you die unexpectedly, they may be too young and inexperienced to be up for the task.

Lastly, it’s important to talk to your potential Executor and let them know that you’ve picked them for the job, as someone unprepared or unwilling to complete the task likely won’t do a good job of it. It is also important to choose a backup Executor, who can be a professional solicitor if your estate is complicated.

Arranging Your Affairs

It is also important to ensure that your loved can help you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

A Lasting Power of Attorney will be required to make sure that decisions are made for you if you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions.

Using a Trustworthy Legal Professional

There are a lot of steps and considerations to keep in mind when preparing a Will.  Missing any of these critical steps can result in all sorts of complications for your family in future.

That’s why so many people hire a solicitor to find and correct any mistakes, and why Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors  pride ourselves in ensuring that our clients get the best possible advice in Probate, Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney, and Equity Release. We specialise in meeting the legal needs of our clients while also providing the kindness, understanding, and support that we know our clients need at a difficult time. Contact us today to find out how we can make your legal future more secure.