Frequently Asked Questions


Can a beneficiary of a Will also be an executor?

Yes, the beneficiary can act as executor as well.

Can a beneficiary of a Will also be a witness?

No. The witness to a will must be independent, and therefore cannot include a beneficiary.

If I get married or divorced do I need to get a new will?

Generally when you marry, any existing will is automatically cancelled and becomes no longer valid.

Divorce doesn’t cancel your existing Will, however it does remove your former spouse as an Executor and prevent them from inheriting from your Will.

Somerset Estate Planning strongly advise to update your Will if your marital situation changes.

If an executor is unwilling or unable to act, can a firm be appointed to administer the estate?

Yes. This is often the case due to the time involved and complexity in dealing with Probate and Estate Administration.

At Somerset Estate Planning we can support you through this and provide peace of mind.


Do I need to register an LPA with the Office of Public Guardian straight away?

It’s not necessary to register straight away, but the LPA needs to be completed and signed while you still have mental capacity.

The registration process can delay use of the LPA by at least 12 weeks, at a time when it may need to be used. There is no scope to use the LPA during this process and if the attorney needs to make decisions urgently, they will need to apply for a Court order.

At Somerset Estate Planning we can provide best advice depended on your personal situation.

I have a will with an executor – do I need an LPA?

Both serve different purposes. An executor (appointed in a Will) deals with someone’s affairs once they have died but has no authority during lifetime. An appointed Attorney will be able to make decisions whilst you’re alive but has no authority once someone has passed away.

At Somerset Estate Planning, we provide advice and clarity on the different roles and responsibilities for all your legal affairs.


How will I know if I need Probate?

You’d need to determine what the assets of the deceased are worth and whether they are owned in a sole name. Every bank and financial institution has their own limit and their own approach to probate. Some have a threshold for probate of £5,000, while others have raised it to £50,000.

Do I need a solicitor for Probate?

No, you can manage the process yourself, but this can be time-consuming and stressful. Alternatively, you can appoint a professional company such as Somerset Estate Planning can help you manage it at a fair and affordable cost.

How long before an estate can be distributed?

It really depends on the individual’s estate. A simple estate could take 6-12 months to administer and distribute, but a more complex estate could take much longer.