A Guide to Our Will Template
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A guide to using our Will templates explaining how to use each Will template and what the key clauses cover.
This general guide to using our Will template explains how to use the template and the meaning and effect of the main clauses.
We have two variations of our Will template available for purchase. The first is the Single Will template which is designed to be used by an individual who is either single or who does not wish to leave all of their assets to their spouse or partner. The second variation of our Will template is the Joint Will template which is designed for use where two individuals want to create mirror wills that are identical and under which they both leave all of their assets to the other. These joint Wills are typically used by a husband and wife to create their mirror Wills but can also be used by a couple who want to create Mirror Wills.
Each of our templates has been drafted by a Private Client Solicitor specialising in Will drafting and inheritance planning. The Will templates are written in plain English and without the use of unnecessary legal jargon to ensure that they are easy to understand and can be easily customised to meet your exact requirements.
This guide explains the main clauses used in our Will templates.
An explanation of the clauses in our Will templates
Each Will template begins with an introductory clause that revokes all previous Wills and testimonies. This is important because otherwise you run the risk of confusing people regarding which Will is in place in the event that a previous wWll that you have made is also found after your death. You could also inadvertently create a situation where two Wills are both considered valid by your beneficiaries and if their contents are different, this is going to cause considerable potential for dispute. The introductory Revocation Clause in each Will template states that you revoke all former Wills created prior to the date of your new Will. This means that the new Will you are looking to create shall invalidate and supersede any previous Will that you have in place already.
Executors to your Will
Executors are two people who you choose and name in your Will who will be responsible for the administration of your Estate in the event of your death. The role of your Executors is to make sure your wishes, as set out in your Will, are carried out. If you wish you can provide that your Executors can claim expenses from your Estate, such as travel expenses and other costs that they incur in carrying out your wishes. Each of our Will templates includes a clause that gives you the option of doing this.
Appointment of Guardians
Each Will template in our Wills online section includes a clause which gives you the option of appointing a legal Guardian or Guardians in the event that you have children who are younger than eighteen years of age. Children under the age of eighteen must have a legal Guardian who can provide parental supervision. If you do not nominate a Guardian then there is a risk that the children could find themselves in a situation where a State Guardian is appointed and they would then be placed with a fostering family unless a relative came forward offering to act as legal Guardian to your children. If for any reason you fail to nominate a Guardian in your Will then fostering would only happen if a family member did not come forward and volunteer themselves as Guardian.
The appointment of Guardians clause in our Will template gives you the opportunity to name your chosen Guardian(s) for your children. The clause also has optional wording to deal with the revocation (undoing) of any previous appointment of Guardians in order to clarify exactly who you want to act as legal Guardian to your children.
Each of the Will templates has a clause called “My Specific Legacies”. This clause enables you to decide which specific assets you wish to leave to particular individuals. This includes any cash gifts that you want to make.
Pecuniary legacies are similar to specific legacies but instead are purely money based. Our template includes this clause where you can set out any monetary amounts that you would like beneficiaries to receive and which are to come from non-cash assets that are within your Estate and which your Executors will arrange to be sold in order to generate the cash to pay out as pecuniary legacies. You do not have to make any pecuniary legacies if you do not wish to. However, it is very common to do so and so this clause is included as standard in each Will template but can be removed if required.
The personal belongings clause is designed to make provision for you to leave items of personal value to your beneficiaries. Here, you can name the people you wish to receive such items. The clause is very flexible and can be easily customised to state that particular personal items are left to particular individuals or that the Executors distribute the items evenly between the named individuals using their own discretion.
Your Estate is the collection of all that you own at your death. The “My Estate” clause in a will template is a description of what your estate contains. The clause is often drafted in a general manner and it is then left for the Executors to ascertain exactly what assets make up your Estate. This task can be simplified by listing all those assets that you can.
Administration of Estate
This clause states that your chosen Executors are authorised to act for you after you pass away. The Executors collect in all of your assets and act in accordance with any specific instructions that you wish to leave them in this clause in your Will. Once the Executors collect in your assets they then hold them on trust (a legal term which means that they hold them for the benefit of another person or persons) before they transfer them to your beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of your Will.
A residuary gift is a gift that is given after all the gifts that have been specifically stated in your Will have been allocated to the beneficiaries. It is the residual (left over) assets that remains within your Estate. The residual assets will be divided and distributed among those beneficiaries that you have named in this clause of the Will template.
This is a generic clause contained in most Will templates that confirms the powers that the Executors are to have in implementing your wishes as set out in your Will.
Power of Investment
This clause states that the Executors can invest money at their discretion as if the money were theirs. This clause only becomes relevant where there is a surplus of cash to be distributed under the Will and it gives the Executors the power to invest it in order to maximise its value. The clause is optional and can be removed if you do not want the Executors to have the power of investment.
Power to Borrow
This clause gives your Executors the authority to borrow money against your Estate if this is required in order to carry out any of your wishes as set out in the Will. Again, this clause is optional and can be removed from the template.
Power of Appropriation
This clause permits the Executors to apportion any interests in land based property that you choose to allocate under your Will.
The Executor Charging clause states that your Executors can be paid fees for time spent administrating your estate and performing your wishes under your Will. This clause means that the Executors shall be paid out of your Estate before any other person receives their financial payments. The clause is optional and can be removed from each template but is a clause that most people choose to keep in their Will.
This clause in the Will template states that your Executors shall be protected against any loss that they incur personally in carrying out your wishes and administering your Estate, with the exception of fraud. This means that they are not accountable for any bad investment etc.
How to Sign Your Will Template
To sign your Will you must sign the Will by hand in the presence of two witnesses who must also sign and date the Will. The witnesses must be at least 18 years of age. In order for a person to be a witness of your Will, they must not be receiving any gift from it. If you wish to leave a witness an item under your Will, they shall be unable to receive the item if they are your witness.
If you are looking to make a Will then we have a wide range of Will documents including a Single Will and a Joint (also known as "Mirror Will") in our online Wills section. We also have a wide range of useful articles articles and guides related to Wills in our Law Library such as our Glossary of Common Will Words which explains the meaning of the most common legal terms and expressions found in a Will.