Consumer heavyweight Len Dastard's guide to Wills - Part 2

Eliz fin de semana, avid Bitterwallet readers and wrestling fans alike. Yes, it is I, Len Dastard! Once again, I shall apply my legendary-yet-imaginary grip, Estrangular el Caballo, to the throat of consumer advice – and death to your horse if you dare challenge me. You're welcome.

You may remember my introductory piece on Wills. And yes, you may relive that momentous occasion right here. Comencemos…

What do Executors do?

• Obtain details of outstanding debts and bills and repay these
• Transfer gifts to beneficiaries
• Call in assets
• Find out about all assets (property and investments)
• Arrange for valuables and property to be professionally valued
• Make funeral arrangements and organise payment
• Complete and submit all Probate Registry forms

Executors that are family or friends usually do not get paid but you may give them a modest cash gift in your Will as a ‘thank you’. Professional executors are appointed as individual people/organisations and therefore are usually paid their normal fees.

‘Trusts’ contained in a Will – what are they and how do they work?

If you have young children (under 18) who you wish to include in your Will it is common to provide for them by way of a trust. This means that an adult (as trustee) looks after the children’s assets until the children can take control of them themselves. There are different trusts that can be put in place. Please get in contact if you would like me to
specifically deal with these. I haven’t yet as they have the potential to take up a whole article.

What happens to property in joint names?

Some time ago I wrote many words on owning property in joint names - you can find it here. A joint-tenant cannot make a gift in a Will of their share of the property as there is no such share. The whole of the property is owned by all of its owners.

Can I choose anyone to witness me signing a Will?

No. Whoever witnesses your signature cannot be a beneficiary in your Will, nor married to a beneficiary. They must be over 18 years of age, of sound mind and not blind. You will need two witnesses who must both be present when you sign and date your Will. They are only there to witness your signature and do not need to know the content of the Will.

You should then leave your Will in a safe place and ensure your executors and family know where is it being kept. Your executors will need the original Will, not a copy.

That, amigos, is the end of Part 2! I was gripped, I hope you were too. In our final installment we will cover what happens if you do not have a Will (Rules of Intestacy) and also how to avoid the taxman – a topic that we should all try and get familiar with.

If you have any issues that you would like me to tackle then please contact me at [email protected] Until then, permanezca vivo! Or alternatively, make a Will.


  • The B.
    How to avoid the taxman? I think the simple answer is "you can't", they add up your entire estate (including refunds from things like car insurance which are made out to the executor of the estate so you can't cash them). They get a big kitty together of everything you've inherited, then they bend you over a table and leave you with a very sore posterior.
  • robbie m.
    Great stuff if you live in England and Wales - not so sure about Scotland or NI.
  • Len D.
    Robbie - I am afraid I know very little about Scottish Law but I could always try and find out for you any particular point. Len
  • Consumer B.
    [...] You may remember my previous two pieces on Wills. Once again you can relive those earth-shattering occasions right here and here. [...]

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