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Whether you're planning your children's future, buying a house or just making sure your wishes are clearly stated, we can help you take care of your will.

Frequently Asked Questions

Top 5 frequently asked questions

What is a will?

A will is a document that gives you the power to decide what should happen to your property, possessions and money when you die.

Your will can be changed at any time during your lifetime provided you retain your mental capacity.

You should review your will from time to time. If your personal, property or financial circumstances change, you should change or update it.

You may also find our Things to consider and will storage information helpful.

How can I try your service?

You can 'try before you buy' to see how the process works by clicking the 'Get Started' button that appears next to each type of legal document.

You can save the document that you've been creating before buying it by providing your name, email address and a password ('quick registration').

When should I create a Power of Attorney?

To create a Power of Attorney you will still need to have the mental capacity to make your own decisions. It is essential that you make the Power of Attorney while you are still capable of making decisions about who to appoint as your attorneys and what powers you want to give them.

Many people now create a Power of Attorney well before they need it as it is impossible to create one once you have lost capacity. Don't leave it too late. You might think it seems sensible to wait until later in life, or until a diagnosis of a medical condition, to create a Power of Attorney, but circumstances can change very quickly in completely unexpected ways. Having one in place will protect both you and your loved ones.

If you just want somebody to manage your affairs for a short period of time (for example if you're going abroad) then you may wish to grant a General Power of Attorney.

Is Which? Wills only an online service?

No. You must be able to access and use the internet to create a document with Which? Wills but our wills experts are just a phone call away if you need help with using the system. You can reach them on 01992 822 803.

How long will it take to complete the questionnaire?

This depends on the type of document that you're creating and how much information you already have to hand. If you're making a will, we suggest that you should set aside around an hour to complete the questionnaire, although it can take as little as half an hour if your circumstances are simple and you have the required information to hand (such as addresses of beneficiaries).

Allow yourself preparation time before starting your document. For example, if you're making a will then speak to your intended guardians and executors to check that they'll be happy with the responsibility.

All frequently asked questions by category

About wills

  • What is a will?

    A will is a document that gives you the power to decide what should happen to your property, possessions and money when you die..

    Your will can be changed at any time during your lifetime provided you retain your mental capacity.

    You should review your will from time to time. If your personal, property or financial circumstances change, you should change or update it.

    You may also find our Things to consider and will storage information helpful.

  • What happens if I don't make a will?

    If you die without leaving a will, your wishes are not taken into account. The law decides how your estate should be shared on your death.

    Dying without a will is called dying intestate - your estate is subject to the Intestacy Rules.

    Which? Wills makes it quick and easy to write a will. Though it may seem daunting now, writing a will makes things easier for your family during what will inevitably be a difficult time.

  • What are executors?

    An executor carries out the instructions specified in your will when you die. The executor will pay your taxes and debts and close your accounts. They're usually also appointed as trustees of your assets. Read more about choosing executors in our guide on things to consider when making a will.

  • What are guardians?

    A guardian is appointed to look after your children aged under 18 if there is no other person with parental responsibility alive when you die. You should choose your guardians carefully and make sure they are willing to take on the role of guardian.

  • What are trustees?

    These are usually the same people as your executors. They look after the assets in the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

  • What is a trust?

    A trust is an arrangement where property is held by one party for the benefit of the other party/parties.

  • Who can witness my will?

    A will must be witnessed by two independent people aged at least 18 years. Your witnesses do not need to know the content of your will.

    The witnesses cannot be:

    • blind
    • beneficiaries in your will
    • spouses or civil partners of beneficiaries in your will
    • anyone related to you
  • What type of gift can I make in my will?

    1. Specific gifts – gifts of items

    For example, giving your jewellery to your daughter or your golf clubs to your nephew

    2. Pecuniary gifts – gifts of money

    For example, giving £100 to each of your godchildren or £1000 to your favourite charity. The maximum gift of money you can leave to one person in a Which? will is £100,000.

    3. Residuary gifts – what's left

    Your residuary estate is what is left after all outstanding debts and gifts have been distributed. This ensures that your remaining estate passes to your chosen beneficiaries rather than being subject to the intestacy rules.

  • Can gifts in my will fail?

    Yes. A gift may fail because the item has been given away during lifetime, or the estate is insolvent. In these cases the will is read as if the gifts were not made or the sum is reduced. If it fails because the beneficiary has died then, unless there is a substitute, the gift falls into the residuary estate.

  • Can I abbreviate names in my will?

    It's best not to. When making your will, use people's full names and details wherever possible.

  • Do I need to provide for dependants in my will?

    While the law of England and Wales permits you to write the will of your choice, if you fail to make provision for someone from the following list, then that person, or their representative, may bring a claim for Reasonable Financial Provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

    The list of dependants is:

    • spouses
    • ex-spouses
    • recently separated partners
    • civil partners
    • ex-civil partners
    • co-habitees
    • children
    • other dependants
  • What is a mirror will?

    Mirror wills are suitable for anyone who is married or in a civil partnership, provided both partners have identical or very similar wishes. Read more about different types of will.

  • When does my will become valid?

    A will becomes legally valid when it is signed and witnessed in accordance with the Wills Act 1837. It should also be dated.

  • Where should I store my will?

    You should store your will in a safe and secure place and tell your executors where it is. See our guide to will storage for an outline of the options.

  • How do I change my will?

    A will can be changed by writing a new valid will or making a valid codicil to the will. A codicil is a document that amends a previously executed will, rather than replacing it.

  • What is the Inheritance Tax threshold?

    It is currently £325,000 for a single person. This means that if you die with an estate worth more than £325,000 (including money, property and investments, but after deducting debts and expenses such as funeral costs), 40% tax will become due on anything above £325,000.

    However, if you are married or in a civil partnership, you may be able to leave more than this before paying tax.

Powers of Attorney

  • What is a Power of Attorney?

    A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint somebody else to manage your affairs on your behalf.

    There are different types of Power of Attorney depending on where you live, what powers you want to grant, and the period of time you would like someone to be able to manage your affairs for. See our Types of Power of Attorney guide for further information, or use our Power of Attorney Selector to help you find the right document.

  • When should I create a Power of Attorney?

    To create a Power of Attorney you will still need to have the mental capacity to make your own decisions. It is essential that you make the Power of Attorney while you are still capable of making decisions about who to appoint as your attorneys and what powers you want to give them.

    Many people now create a Power of Attorney well before they need it as it is impossible to create one once you have lost capacity. Don't leave it too late. You might think it seems sensible to wait until later in life, or until a diagnosis of a medical condition, to create a Power of Attorney, but circumstances can change very quickly in completely unexpected ways. Having one in place will protect both you and your loved ones.

    If you just want somebody to manage your affairs for a short period of time (for example if you're going abroad) then you may wish to grant a General Power of Attorney.

  • I already have a will, can my executor handle my affairs?

    A will is completely separate to a Power of Attorney.

    A will relates to how your estate is distributed when you die, and it is your executor who has responsibility for dealing with your estate on death. An executor does not have the right to manage your affairs during the course of your lifetime. If you want someone to handle your affairs while you're alive, you will need to appoint an attorney.

    Equally, if you're an attorney, you can't make a will on behalf of the person you act for, so don't let them leave it too late.

  • If I grant Power of Attorney to someone else, can I still handle my own affairs?

    Yes. You should be encouraged and supported by your attorney to continue dealing with your affairs (or as much of them as you can manage) for as long as possible. Powers of Attorney are typically created by people who are happy to continue handling their own affairs until they reach a point in the future when they are no longer capable. At this time, the Power of Attorney gives your chosen attorney the power to assist you in managing your affairs or, if you are unable, to manage your affairs on your behalf.

  • Are there different types of Power of Attorney?

    Yes, there are several different types of Power of Attorney. See our Types of Power of Attorney guide for further information, or use our Power of Attorney selector tool to help you find the right document.

  • What is a General Power of Attorney?

    A General Power of Attorney allows you to temporarily grant someone else the authority to deal with your affairs. This can be useful if you're travelling or working abroad, for example. A General Power of Attorney will only remain valid while you still have mental capacity to make your own decisions.

  • How do I make a certified copy of a General Power of Attorney?

    Photocopying the original general power of attorney and certifying that it is a true copy of the original makes a certified copy. If the copy consists of more than one page, write on each page of the copy the words 'This is a true and complete copy of the corresponding page of the original'. If the copy consists of one page, write on the page the words 'This is a true and complete copy of the original'.

    After doing this, the donor/granter should sign the certified copy. If the donor is not available for any reason, please refer to the relevant document guidance notes as to who can sign on their behalf.

    Please note that many banks and other financial institutions will only accept a certified copy by a suitably qualified independent professional who is subject to the Money Laundering Regulations. In some cases, they may also ask to see the original document.

  • What happens after I complete my Lasting Power of Attorney?

    In England and Wales, it isn't possible to start using a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The same is true in Scotland of Continuing or Welfare Powers of Attorney, where the document must be registered with the Scottish Office of the Public Guardian.

    You can register the LPA yourself if you are capable or your attorney can do it for you. In England and Wales, it takes from 8 to 10 weeks to register an LPA, assuming there are no mistakes in the application. If there are any errors, the registration will have to be submitted again. Remember that there are two types of LPA. If both a Property and Financial Affairs LPA and a Health and Welfare LPA, are wanted, they will need to be created and registered individually, even if the attorneys are the same for both.

    In Scotland, the Office of the Public Guardian aims to complete the registration process within 30 days. The OPG (Scotland) will not register a Continuing or Welfare Power of Attorney unless it has a certificate in the correct statutory form signed by a solicitor or doctor to confirm that the granter understood the nature and extent of the powers being granted in the Power of the Attorney at the time that it was granted.

  • Do I need to register my Enduring Power of Attorney (Northern Ireland)?

    When your attorney believes you are or are becoming mentally incapable they must register the EPA with the High Court. Registration is straightforward. It involves an attorney sending a 'Notice of intention to register', using form EP1, to your relatives. This same EP1 is given to you (the donor), and an application form EP2 is completed. The attorney must then send the original EPA document, together with form EP2 and supporting medical evidence and an application fee to the EPA team at the Office of Care and Protection.

  • Are Power of Attorney documents legally binding?

    Yes, a Power of Attorney is legally binding if it is created correctly by the individual while they have the mental capacity to do so - they must have fully understood what they were doing at the time.

    A General Power of Attorney is a legally binding document but it doesn't need to be registered.

  • Can I 'undo' my Lasting Power of Attorney in the future?

    In England and Wales, an individual can end their Lasting Power of Attorney, even if it has been registered, at any time as long as they still have mental capacity. To do so, they will need to make a written statement, known as a 'deed of revocation' and send it to the Office of the Public Guardian so that they can cancel registration of your Lasting Power(s) of Attorney.

    An almost identical process applies in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where you have the same cancellation rights. Please visit the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) website for further information.

  • What is the difference between the Which? Power of Attorney documents and those offered on the Office of the Public Guardian's website?

    The Office of the Public Guardian offers free forms that you can use if you live in England or Wales. You can also create a Lasting Power of Attorney through the Gov.uk website here. However, if you feel that you need additional guidance then our 'Self Service & Expert Legal Review' option enables you to have your document reviewed by one of our wills specialists to provide extra peace of mind. You can also call or email our wills specialists with any questions you may have as you complete your forms. We also advise our customers to refer to the Office of the Public Guardian's guidance notes. Scottish customers should refer to the guidance notes provided by Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland).

  • If I purchase and complete a Power of Attorney document on the Which? Wills website, will Which? Wills register the document for me?

    No. You will be responsible for registering the document with the relevant organisation.

  • What happens once the Power of Attorney has been registered? How does the donor's bank know that I am now their attorney?

    You will need to inform banks and other financial services providers that you have Power of Attorney to act – you will be asked to provide the relevant document to prove what you say. In England and Wales, this is the stamped Power of Attorney document you'll get back from the Office of the Public Guardian once the document is registered. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, you will get back a registration certificate.

  • I live in England or Wales and have an Enduring Power of Attorney, is this still valid?

    In England and Wales Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) were replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney on 1 October 2007, but EPAs that were signed and witnessed before this date can still be used. EPAs must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian at the onset of the donor losing mental capacity. EPAs only cover property and finances.

    In Northern Ireland, an Enduring Power of Attorney is still used.

  • Do I need both types of Lasting Power of Attorney?

    In England and Wales, different types of Power of Attorney give your attorneys the right to look after your financial affairs and your health and welfare. The same is true in Scotland. To ensure you have attorneys looking out for you in both areas, it makes sense to have both types.

  • What is the difference between appointing attorneys jointly and jointly and severally? Which is best?

    Jointly means the attorneys must all agree to any decisions and every document must be signed by all attorneys. Jointly and severally means that any of the attorneys can make a decision and sign documents together or without the others. The big advantage of the latter is convenience and speed of action, but you must have total confidence in your attorneys to grant each the power to act alone.

  • How is mental capacity determined?

    All adults are legally assumed to have mental capacity until it is proved otherwise. If there are disputes, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 sets out clear principles. In Scotland the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 sets out the relevant principals for defining 'incapacity'.

  • What gifts can the attorney make on behalf of the donor?

    The attorney can buy gifts or give gifts of money on behalf of the donor, including donations to charities. The attorney must only make gifts:

    • to people who normally receive gifts from the person
    • on suitable occasions, eg birthdays, weddings
    • to charities that normally receive donations from the person

    Gifts must be reasonable, particularly in relation to the size of your estate – if in doubt, take advice.

  • Must all my attorneys agree to a particular decision being made?

    Only if the attorneys have been appointed jointly, rather than jointly and severally.

  • What happens if one of the attorneys dies before the donor?

    If the attorney dies before the Power of Attorney is being used, the donor (you) will usually be able to create another Power of Attorney appointing a replacement attorney. If the death occurs after donor has lost mental capacity, and they only have one attorney, the Power of Attorney will become invalid. It is for this reason that we recommend that you appoint a Replacement Attorney when creating your Power of Attorney.

  • Is an attorney entitled to make a large gift from the donor's assets?

    No, though it may be possible to make an application to the courts to do so.

  • Can the donor's money be mixed with the attorney's money or held in a joint account in the names of the donor and attorney?

    The donor's accounts must be kept separate to the attorney's. But in some cases, they may have joint accounts – where a husband is acting for a wife, or vice versa, for example. Providers of these accounts should be notified.

  • What is a replacement attorney and should I appoint one?

    A replacement attorney steps in if the original attorney is no longer able to act on the donor's behalf – in the event of their death, for example, or following a divorce. Appointing one can be a sensible precaution, but your replacement attorney should be as trusted a person as your original attorney.

  • How do I amend my Power of Attorney after it is signed and witnessed?

    The exact procedure varies according to the type of Power of Attorney and where you live. Check with the Office of the Public Guardian in England and Wales, and Scotland, or with the Office of Care and Protection in Northern Ireland.

Using the Which? Wills service

  • Is Which? Wills only an online service?

    No. You must be able to access and use the internet to create a document with Which? Wills but our wills experts are just a phone call away if you need help with using the system. You can reach them on 01992 822 803.

  • What makes Which? Wills different from other online legal services?

    Most online legal services provide you with 'off-the-shelf' or 'flat-form' legal documents that will be relatively inflexible to your particular circumstances. Our online system will take you through a series of simple questions, each with clarifications or examples to help guide you through the process. Based on your answers, our system drafts and tailors the required clauses to create your legal document.

    Your legal document comes with a set of comprehensive and clear guidance notes. These notes give an overview of the document, explain terms you may not understand and list things you need to consider, such as signing and witnessing your legal document.

    Our online templates are created by solicitors and barristers and are regularly reviewed and updated in accordance with changes in the law.

    Finally, we offer the opportunity to try our legal documents before you buy.

  • What is the difference between the service levels?

    Which? Wills offers three service levels:

    1. Self Service: this allows you to draft your document yourself with the help of online guidance notes.
    2. Self Service & Expert Legal Review: this allows you to draft your document yourself with the help of online guidance notes. When you have completed your document questionnaire you can then submit the document for review by one of our wills specialists. Details regarding what the Expert Legal Review covers can be found in our terms and conditions.
    3. Which? Wills Premium: Our Premium package offers all the support and guidance of our Self Service & Expert Legal Review package but with some key added extras. You'll get a high quality printed and bound will delivered to your door as well as a year's worth of secure will storage.

    Contact our wills specialists if you need more information.

  • How can I try out your service?

    You can 'try before you buy' to see how the process works by clicking the 'Get Started' button that appears next to each type of legal document.

    You can save the document that you've been creating before buying it by providing your name, email address and a password ('quick registration').

  • What's the difference between a quick registration and full registration?

    We ask you to complete a quick registration (name, email address and password) if you 'preview' a legal document. If you decide to purchase a product, you'll need to give us more details (such as your postal address) as part of the full registration process. Our privacy policy explains how we use your personal information.

  • I'd like to speak to someone about Which? Wills before I proceed. Is this possible?

    Yes. Visit our contact us page for details about how to get in touch.

  • How long will it take to complete the questionnaire?

    This depends on the type of document that you're creating and how much information you already have to hand. If you're making a will, we suggest that you should set aside around an hour to complete the questionnaire, although it can take as little as half an hour if your circumstances are simple and you have the required information to hand (such as addresses of beneficiaries).

    Allow yourself preparation time before starting your document. For example, if you're making a will then speak to your intended guardians and executors to check that they'll be happy with the responsibility.

  • I don't understand what a question means or is referring to.

    Next to each question is a blue circle containing the letter 'i' – for 'information'. Click on this for further explanation and guidance on the question. Some explanations will also include a helpful example. Hide the pop-up window containing the explanation by clicking on the 'X' in the explanation box.

  • What happens once I've filled in the questionnaire?

    Our intelligent software will produce your legal document. If you selected the Self Service option, your legal document is then ready to be signed and witnessed. If you have chosen a package that includes a legal review, after you have completed the online questionnaire you can send a draft of the document our will specialists. They'll check that it reflects the answers to the questions. If everything looks in order, we'll email you with information about the next steps. If you change your mind, you may cancel your legal document as detailed in our 'How do I get a refund?' section below.

  • How long does the legal review take?

    After you have submitted your document for legal review, we aim to complete the review within seven to fourteen working days. However, at busy times it might take slightly longer, so if you haven't heard anything within fourteen working days then please contact us.

  • Can I use Which? Wills to make a will if I have foreign assets?

    If you have assets outside the UK, or in the case of property, in a different country to where you permanently live within the UK, a will made using the Which? Wills service will attempt to cover them. However, the extent to which (if at all) the will is successful in that regard depends on the law where the assets are situated. We suggest you take independent specialist advice and to consider whether this will-writing service will fully meet your needs.

  • Can I leave a gift of property within Which? Wills?

    It depends. If the property is included in the residuary estate, then yes. However, you cannot leave a specific gift of a property or a share in a property in a Which? will. This means you cannot give it to someone separately from the residue of the estate. The legal issues relating to the ownership of property and how it passes on after death can be complex, and it requires specialist drafting to make a specific gift of property in a will. If you wish to do so, we recommend that you obtain separate legal advice.

  • Which web browser should I use?

    The minimum browser requirements for creating documents on the website are: Internet Explorer version 9 and above or recent versions of Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Google Chrome. Please do not use Internet Explorer version 8 as our software does not function fully in this browser.

  • Why doesn't the document open in my browser?

    This may be because of a security setting in your web browser. Please contact our customer service team for help.

  • How can I see which documents I've tried for free and which ones I've bought?

    Click on 'Complete a saved document' and log in.

    All your started and purchased documents are stored here.

    You can pay for any document you have trialed from here. Once purchased, the document will be moved to 'In progress'.

  • I purchased a pair of wills but I can only find one of them. Where is the second one?

    You will find the second will in the 'Complete a saved document' section of your account.

  • What are wills specialists?

    Our wills specialists are paralegals specialising in wills and probate law.

  • How do I track the progress or status of my legal document?

    Click on 'Complete a saved document' and log in. You can track the progress of your legal document here, whether it's not yet started, in progress or complete.

  • What happens when my document is returned from the reviewer?

    You'll receive an email from Which? Wills which includes the comments from the wills specialist who reviewed your document. The email will ask you to log back into the Which? Wills website to get your document.

  • How do I print my document?

    Click on 'Complete a saved document' and log in. You can select 'Print' against any Self Service document or any Self Service & Expert Legal Review document that has been approved by our wills specialists. This opens the document as a PDF file that you can either save or print.

  • I've purchased a 'Self Service' document but I've changed my mind and now want to have it reviewed by a wills specialist. Do I need to buy a new document?

    It is possible to upgrade your document service level to 'Self Service & Expert Legal Review' for a fixed fee. If you've purchased a 'Self Service' document but haven't yet started it, you can find further information on upgrading the service level from the 'Complete a saved document' section of your account.

  • How will my will be printed, bound and sent to me if I've chosen a Which? Wills Premium package?

    If you create a will with our Which? Wills Premium package, you'll receive a professionally printed and bound will delivered straight to your door.

    Each will is printed on premium-quality paper and held together with a glue binding. It will be sent by first-class postage to locations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    You'll also receive a printed clause-by-clause commentary of your will and set of signing instructions so you can properly execute your will.

Payment, refunds and complaints

  • How do I pay for my legal document?

    We accept all major debit and credit cards. Your payment is processed securely.

  • How do I get a refund?

    If you change your mind about the legal document you've bought, you can get a refund within 14 days of purchase. This cancellation period expires once the legal document has been released back to you after legal review or the legal document has been completed through the Self Service option. Our contact details are on our Contact us page.

    If you're entitled to a refund, the full purchase price paid for a document or pack will be refunded back to the debit or credit card you used to make the original payment.

  • What is your feedback and complaints procedure?

    We hope you'll be really pleased with your purchase, but if you have any concerns at all, please let us know using the details on our Contact us page.

    We also have a complaints procedure in place in case it is ever needed.

Letter of wishes

  • What is a letter of wishes?

    A letter of wishes is an informal document that can be made to accompany a will. It is not legally binding, but is used to set out specific wishes that you may have such as special instructions for your funeral or particular wishes that you may have on how you'd like your executor or trustees to manage any trusts created in your will. It can also be used to provide clarity around aspects of your will such as why you may not have included someone as a beneficiary.

    A letter of wishes should not be physically attached to the will as if they are stapled together it can invalidate the will.

  • Do I need a letter of wishes?

    You don't necessarily need a letter of wishes but it is a good idea to consider making one as it helps make your wishes known and can prove very useful for your executors and trustees.

    We would strongly recommend a letter of wishes if you have a discretionary trust will, if you are excluding an individual, or if you are leaving your children unequal shares of your estate.

  • Is a letter of wishes legally binding?

    No, unlike a will, a letter of wishes is not legally binding.

  • When do I make a letter of wishes?

    A letter of wishes is made after you have completed your will.

Codicils

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