Why should I make a will? Wills and Probate
Making a Will
Anyone can make a will. You don't have to make a will, but experts and common sense advise us to do so.
By making a will you will be able to set out who is to benefit from your property and possessions ('your estate') after your death. It will also help make sure that your estate, after any taxes and debts have been paid, is passed on as you want. You may need legal advice if you want your share of any jointly owned assets to be inherited by someone who is not the other joint owner. Making a will is particularly important if you have children, as you can specify who you would like to care for them should you die. Advance agreement with the proposed carer is highly recommended, and again you should seek legal advice regarding this issue.
If you do not make a will, your estate will be passed on according to a scheme laid down in law. Who is entitled under this scheme (which is designed to reflect the wishes of the average person) will depend on which relatives survive you, if any. Therefore planning for such an event can help reduce the distress your loved ones will experience should you die.
If you are thinking of making a will, you may want to get the help of a lawyer or a voluntary organisation such as the Citizens Advice Bureau. Alternatively you can access free legal advice from Forces Law at your local Naval Establishment.
Web site: Citizens Advice Bureau
What is probate?
Probate is an official form that gives the executors of the will the right to deal with the assets and property of the dead person. When you show the probate form to a bank, for example, they know they are dealing with the person who has the right to handle the estate, and they will allow you to withdraw money from the dead person's account.
When you apply for probate, you are promising the Probate Court that you will administer (deal with) the estate as set out in the will and according to law. If you don't do this, you will be in trouble with the court (and the beneficiaries of the will). Probate makes sure that the executors carry out their task properly.
When there is no will (or there are no executors named in the will), the official form is called 'letters of administration'.
For further information we suggest you consult the Community Legal Service Direct Web site address below.
The Legal Services Commission produces a series of public information leaflets that cover key areas of the civil law of England and Wales, such as Employment Law, Welfare Benefits and Debt. These leaflets also include a wide range of information on will making, probate and closely related matters.
Web site: Community Legal Service Direct
The Law Society of Scotland
The Law Society of Scotland offer contact information on solicitors and solicitor advocates all of whom supply legal services. An advice leaflet for making a will is available from their web site.
Web site: The Law Society of Scotland
Standard Service Will
This is a simple format available from your Unit Personnel Office. Collect MOD Form 106 and on completion return it to the UPO. The form will be sent and held at Centurion.
In the event that a serving person dies all the paperwork relating to that persons pay, pensions and, if completed, the Standard Service Will are put together for administration and action. For further information contact your UPO.