FAQs

A selection of our most frequently asked questions.

Wills

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document containing instructions detailing what should be done to somebody's estate when upon their death.

Do I need a Will?

If you die without a Will in England and Wales, the law will decide who gets what. If you have no living family members, all of your property/possessions will go to the State/Crown.

Do I need a solicitor to make a Will?

No you don't. It is a common misconception that you need to use a solicitor to make a will. In fact using a solicitor can be time consuming and very costly.

What is an "estate"?

Your estate comprises of all of your assets for example this can include property, investments, bank accounts, household contents and personal chattels, art, books etc.

What is an Executor?

An Executor is somebody who looks after your estate following your death. For example they will arrange your funeral, look after the distribution of assets detailed in your Will, notify banks, utility companies etc.

How many Executors can I appoint?

You can name as many as you like (one or two is probably ideal). Please note the maximum number who can apply for probate to administer your estate is four people.

What types of gifts can I include?

Gifts are typically called Legacies and you can make a variety of different types of gifts in your Will.

Can I include my funeral wishes in my Will?

Yes you can and you can include as much detail as you wish.

Who can witness my Will?

Broadly speaking there are no restrictions they must be over 18 and of sound mind. However a beneficiary cannot be a witness (i.e. somebody who is benefiting from your Will).

I have a partner but I'm not married, do I need to make a Will?

Unless you make a Will your partner will not be automatically entitled to any of your estate when you die. If however you do have children (or other relatives if no children) you estate will be divided amongst them.

What happens to my Will if I get divorced?

Your Will remains valid but any provisions in respect of your former spouse will cease to apply upon the divorce being finalised. You should draw up a new Will accordingly.

Can I make provisions for my civil partner in my Will?

Providing you have had the legally binding ceremony a civil partner will have the same rights as a spouse would.

Can I make any provisions for pets in my Will?

Yes you can but you cannot leave money to an animal unless the money is given to a named individual. You can also make arrangements for your pet(s) such as who will care for them etc.

I don't live in the UK, can Counsl help me with my Will?

Unfortunately Counsl only provides Will writing services to individuals living in the UK.

Are your Wills tailor made to my circumstances?

In short, yes they are!

How much do your Wills cost?

Single Will cost £15 and a Couple's Will costs £25

Where can I store my Will?

You should keep the original Will somewhere safe away.

Probate

Do I need to apply for Probate?

Probate is needed in order to secure the legal right to deal with somebody's estate once they have died. 

 

If the individual who has passed away did not have a Will, letters of administration is applied for instead of Probate. 

Who can apply for Probate?

When somebody has passed away their Will will appoint Executors who are responsible for administering the estate.

 

The Executors are the ones who will apply for the Grant of Probate. 

If no Will exists normally the individual who inherits the most will apply for the letters of administration.

What obligations does an Executor have?

Where Probate needs to be applied for, the Executors have a responsibility to apply for the Probate. 

Once Probate has been granted, the Executors will be responsible for closing down accounts, selling assets etc. This can be quite burdensome and our Estate Administration Service takes care of this for you. Click here to find out more: Estate Administration

How long does it take until Probate is granted?

Its difficult to put a time period on the grant of Probate. Sometimes it can taker up to 12 months or even longer. 

How do Counsl's Probate prices compare?

We are typically around 70-80% cheaper than using a solicitor but don't think just because we have competitive prices that you will be compromising on quality and service!

What is not included in your fees?

Our fees do not include the Probate registry fee of £155 and each copy of the grant of Probate which is £1.50 for each copy. 

 

These are standard fees set by the government not by us. 

Estate Administration

Probate and Estate Administration, what's the difference?

A grant of Probate is the legal document needed to give you the right to deal with somebody's estate.

 

Estate Administration is an all encompassing process of dealing with the estate including everything from applying for the Grant of Probate, paying Taxes, speaking to banks to distribution of assets to beneficiaries. 

What does Estate Administration typically cost?

The cost depends on the complexity of the estate. Counsl offers a fixed price service so you have certainty over costs. This avoids racking up a large bill with solicitors who charge on an hourly rate which typically works out more expensive. 

 

Our prices start from £1,300. 

How long does it take to complete the Estate Administration?

This depends on the complexity of the estate typically ranging from 3 -12 months. Simpler estates are usually closer to the 3 month period and more complex estates anywhere above that.