changing a will

I have friends, without a great deal of assets, who already have wills and they are quite happy with the provisions in these.

One of their friends died recently and his wife is very unhappy with how the solicitor is dealing with the estate. So they have decided they would like to remove their solicitor from being executor.

I suggested going to a solicitor to get it changed, but they are reluctant to do this. (They may not want to tell him his services are no longer required!)

So can they just add a few lines saying they want to change their executors, with it being signed, dated and witnessed?
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Comments

  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,557 Forumite
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    Nebulous2 wrote: »
    I have friends, without a great deal of assets, who already have wills and they are quite happy with the provisions in these.

    One of their friends died recently and his wife is very unhappy with how the solicitor is dealing with the estate. So they have decided they would like to remove their solicitor from being executor.

    I suggested going to a solicitor to get it changed, but they are reluctant to do this. (They may not want to tell him his services are no longer required!)

    So can they just add a few lines saying they want to change their executors, with it being signed, dated and witnessed?

    They could rewrite their wills (very carefully!) changing the name of the executors and make sure they are signed and witnessed according to the rules or they could draw up a codicil changing the solicitor.

    Do they have the originals of their wills or are these being stored by the solicitor?
  • Bantex_2
    Bantex_2 Posts: 3,317 Forumite
    Best to get the wills redrafted. Not worth the risk if they have substantial assets.
  • Nebulous2
    Nebulous2 Posts: 5,104 Forumite
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    Thank's folks, there are not a great deal of assets - well below IHT levels.

    I've no idea if they are originals or simply copies, I haven't seen them. I've only been asked for advice on changing executors from a solicitor to family members. I don't know the content so wouldn't ask to see them.

    I'll suggest that they get them redrawn.
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,557 Forumite
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    Nebulous2 wrote: »
    Thank's folks, there are not a great deal of assets - well below IHT levels.

    I've no idea if they are originals or simply copies, I haven't seen them. I've only been asked for advice on changing executors from a solicitor to family members. I don't know the content so wouldn't ask to see them.

    I'll suggest that they get them redrawn.

    The new will should have a clause revoking earlier wills but it's still best to destroy the previous ones.
  • BobQ
    BobQ Posts: 11,181 Forumite
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    I think that there are four options:

    (1) Create your own Codicil stating that they do not want the stated executors to act and then name another executor and reserve executor.

    This is probably the cheapest option, at worst the codicil is declared invalid and the existing executors remain.

    (2) Take the text of the existing Will, type it up as written but with different executors, get it signed and witnessed.

    Assuming the Will is reproduced accurately this should work. At worst the new will could be deemed invalid. If so the original will would apply.

    (3) Ask the solicitor to revise the Will

    (4) Ask another solicitor to produce a new will.

    I suspect (3) and (4) are equally costly.
    Mojisola wrote: »
    The new will should have a clause revoking earlier wills but it's still best to destroy the previous ones.

    To do this would require the original.

    As an aside, when I revised my Will last year (same solicitor) they did not offer me the old Will to destroy. When I queried it they said it was not current practice and said that retaining the original gives a fall back if the new will was to be challenged it.
    Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,557 Forumite
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    BobQ wrote: »
    To do this would require the original.

    That's why I asked if they had copies or the original.

    As an aside, when I revised my Will last year (same solicitor) they did not offer me the old Will to destroy. When I queried it they said it was not current practice and said that retaining the original gives a fall back if the new will was to be challenged it.

    I wouldn't be too happy about that - when I make a new will it's because I want to change something and don't want the old will to stand.

    Also, I've no experience of this but there was a thread a couple of months ago where someone had got probate using an old will and, despite the newer will turning up, the old will couldn't be overturned.
  • BobQ
    BobQ Posts: 11,181 Forumite
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    Mojisola wrote: »
    I wouldn't be too happy about that - when I make a new will it's because I want to change something and don't want the old will to stand.

    Also, I've no experience of this but there was a thread a couple of months ago where someone had got probate using an old will and, despite the newer will turning up, the old will couldn't be overturned.

    I agree with you! In my case the solicitor just added a note to the cover page to the old will that it had been replaced by a new will dated whatever. I was less concerned since I was just updating out of date information (deal beneficiaries) with the same solicitor but you are correct in some cases it might be a problem.
    Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.
  • Free wills month next month I think. Might be good to have it all redone, cancelling all previous wills. :cool:
  • FreddieM
    FreddieM Posts: 1,001 Forumite
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    Bollotom wrote: »
    Free wills month next month I think. Might be good to have it all redone, cancelling all previous wills. :cool:


    There is no such thing as a free will, when you go to a solicitor, he/she will take their 8% + as executors. Oooops they don't tell you that bit ;-)


    There are other options to draft up a Will. Think of a solicitor as you would your GP. He knows a little about everything but is not specialised in any one thing. Solicitors are specialists in Employment law, or Matrimonial Law, or Conveyancing Law to name a few. Would you want to trust your life's assets to an employment Law Solicitor???? Go to a Wills company, you get exactly what you pay for by people who know the way to draft up your Will, it goes to their qualified legal team for completing. So many of us cause ourselves and families unnecessary upset and grief by not doing it right. Just my take on this
    If youcan lie down at night knowing in your heart that you just made someone’s day just a little bit better,you know you had a good day!!
  • chucknorris
    chucknorris Posts: 10,786 Forumite
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    FreddieM wrote: »
    There is no such thing as a free will, when you go to a solicitor, he/she will take their 8% + as executors. Oooops they don't tell you that bit ;-)


    That's outrageous we don't have one of these solicitor provided free wills, but if we did, are you saying that they would want to take take approx. £440k? Surely they would have to disclose this.
    Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one birdThe only time Chuck Norris was wrong was when he thought he had made a mistakeChuck Norris puts the "laughter" in "manslaughter".I've started running again, after several injuries had forced me to stop
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