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Facts on Wills and Probate

Definition

A will is a legally binding document that an individual writes to specify their wishes in the event that they die. It will detail how the deceased would like their property to be distributed along with clear directions on matters like care of their children and funeral plans

All persons above the age of 18 are entitled to the rights of making a last will and testament. It however is later in life that it becomes an issue to treat with consideration that is more serious. The problem arises here if you died somewhere along the way without one. In such an eventuality, your assets will be given out in line with the law and not according to your specific wishes.

Depending on the amount of your assets, lack of a will can lead to protracted and even violent squabbles amongst your kin. Such a death will definitely subject them to the rigors of the law, a move whose outcome may not make not make a big difference since a number among them will still fault the law or find the judge biased. Such reactions are certainly products of their preconceived expectations. These scenarios can however be totally avoided if you left a legally binding will.

In cases where one is unmarried but in a steady and promising relationship, the law could rule that, your fiancée gets less than what you desire to leave for them. The legal dynamics here will not recognize them as they would your lawful spouse, so if you desire to apportion them a bigger share of your property, it will work well through a legally drawn wish as facilitated by a wills and probate lawyer (solicitor).

I t may be a good idea to draft out your first will as soon as you go through some remarkable development of circumstances like the birth of a baby or property investment . Another reason why you would need a wills and probate officer is to determine the person to raise your children in case both parents die. This may perhaps be the strongest reason for writing your first will as it heavily impacts on your children’s future. Alternatively, you can set up a trust fund for your children basing on the property you are leaving.

In the event that you do not have a family or dependants, it will still be useful to say how you would wish your assets handled after your death. You could for instance apportion property or money to a benevolent or charitable cause. It may also happen that some years after writing your will, you find yourself in very different circumstances. These are situations like divorce. Any original will you currently hold will be rendered null and void would you choose to remarry. For you to have a better understanding of wills and probate laws, it is useful to talk to a qualified will and probate solicitor. You can get similar attention from a specialist family solicitor.

But why is a will so important?

Now, writing a will as we have briefly seen is the surest way to guarantee that after your departure, your wishes will be properly represented. In the course of writing a will, you will need one or several executors. Executors are the people you allocate to handle your affair after your death. However, just in case you did not assign any executors before death, a friend or family member will seek for a grant of probate. A grant of probate is a kind of license that permits them to be in charge of your property and affairs. Furthermore, many people opt to make wills to avoid heavy inheritance taxation. It however is amazing that more than sixty percent of people bother less to make a will.

Inheritance Tax

This tax is one of the greatest headaches for those considering making a will since estate benefactors are taxed on the proceeds. Below these tax guidelines, you are entitled to give out portions of the estate to those you love and friends. This means you can avoid a section of this taxation. People who die without making a will are referred to as "Intestate".

Searching for wills and probate in England

An ancestor’s will is very important for tracing and confirming missing family relations and many other Records. There are good sources for anyone keen to know how their ancestors lived in England. It however is true that probate in England may be a complex affair and in such endeavors, one has to know their way around wills pretty well. Whether your fore parents were nobles, affluent merchants, average tradesmen, or low class laborers, it is important to rummage through the archives to see if any will was left. Wills are more noticeable among the wealthier families. They do feature in lower classes less often than one would expect.

A will can reveal a lot about your line of ancestry. They show you how the ancestor related with his community, family, religion, his possessions and his/her general attitude toward s life. Diaries would also help but they are less popular with most people. Finding a will is can be a nightmare all due to the way probate was organized. Up until 1858, there is not a single index of wills. Before this date, wills were confirmed in ecclesiastical courts. In addition, this wholly depended on the amount of property you had and where you treasured it. This might have been in the (York or Canterbury) archbishop’s Prerogative courts or the consistory courts also known as the Bishop’s courts.

In case you are finding a will before 1858 it will be good for you to do search in a number of places including the archives and online. For those doing the on line search, the first step will be go to the National archives site. Several other sites like Origins.net will also be useful.

You may be wealthy enough to be in possession of a PCC o PCY will. Yet if your ancestors were of average means, this would be the least likely place to get a will. The next ideal place to search online is Ancestry.co.uk.

If you happen to find a will in any of these indexes, you should accordingly be guided to the exact location where it is held. They are stored in a diocesan record office or county and for you to obtain a copy you have to apply. If you fail to find what you need in these key indexes, you can move into the indexes of wills within the diocesan office with records covering the area where your fore parent died.

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