020 8770 7979 law@akgulati.co.uk


Helping you ensure your loved ones’ peace of mind

A Last Will and Testament is a legally binding document which sets out how you wish your estate to be distributed after your death. Leaving behind a will, detailing your burial or cremation wishes, your executors, your legacies to family, friends, and charities, any trusts you require to be administered, and whom should be legally responsible for your child if they are under 18, will make sure your loved ones have as easy a time as possible when you have passed away. Wills need care and attention and, if possible, you should be legally advised. Our experience will ensure you leave nothing to chance and guarantee your loved ones’ peace of mind.

Why do I need to make a will?

Without a Will, your estate will be divided up between your family according to rules of Intestacy. In this scenario, you could find that your wishes are not respected and that certain loved ones do not receive the benefit or care of your estate as you would wish.

In making a will, you can be assured of the following:


  • Your family will be able to avoid financial complications and difficulties.
  • Only the people you trust most will act as your executors, to deal with the administration of your estate and affairs after you die.
  • Your funeral arrangements will be as you wish them.
  • Your loved ones, including an unmarried partner and any dependant, whom you intend to be provided for or receive legacies will do so.

How we can help you?

A complex Will demands the input of thoroughly experienced practitioners with considerable drafting dexterity and precision. Our Private Client department does a lot of work in the area of Wills, power of attorney, trusts and probate, and we have considerable expertise.

We will guide you and make recommendations as to how you can best conserve and protect your wealth and assets after you have passed on, and how to engineer your legacies and trusts so that your loved ones and interests are taken care of in exactly the way you intend.

Mirror Image Will

A Mirror Image Will is for a spouse, civil partner, or anyone in a relationship, who intends passing on their estate to their surviving partner. Identical beneficiaries are agreed between the couple, for the eventualities that either both die together or that the survivor then dies. The pair of Wills we create will ‘mirror’ each other, being almost identical. Although the main body of both Wills are almost indistinguishable, there is no reason why further distinguishing provisions cannot be drafted into either (without being further mirrored in the other’s Will) to represent the particular wishes of you or your partner.

Complex Estates

Depending on your family setup, your activities and interests and the size of your estate, you may need more complex Will provisions drafted. You may have businesses, or perhaps a disabled child. You may have a number of interests that you need attending to after you are gone. Your estate may be especially large with a considerable amount of wealth you need to look after. We are well placed to give you the sophisticated advice, particularly in respect of Inheritance Tax and trust law, to cover you in any of the above circumstances. We will organise matters for you so that you feel in control of your legacy, and so that your beneficiaries hold on to as much of your hard-earned wealth as possible.

If you would like more information on how A K Gulati & Co may be able to help you, please contact us on: 020 8770 7979.

If I don’t make a will, what will happen to my assets?

Without a will, you will have died intestate and your estate will be apportioned according to the very complex rules of intestacy which can have unintended and rather counter-intuitive results.

As a common law spouse, will my partner inherit my estate?

Legally speaking, there is no such thing as a ‘common law wife’ or ‘common law husband’. If you are unmarried and leave no will, after your death your partner will receive nothing. You must make a will to safeguard your legacy.

I am getting divorced. Must I change my will?

You should review your will every few years but especially so when:

  1. You move house;
  2. One of your named executors dies or no longer wishes to be an executor;
  3. You marry, separate or divorce; or
  4. You have (more) children.

If we have created your will, we shall be happy to retain a copy for you if you wish, giving you the security of knowing it is safely in our vault for when it is required.

How do I go about making my will?

Call us and book an appointment. Amongst other things, we will need to find out:

How is your estate comprised? Cars, houses, insurance policies, investments, pensions, personal possessions such as jewellery, paintings and other valuable artwork, and any businesses you own.

Would you like to leave any legacies (gifts of money) to individuals or to an organisation such as a charity or benevolent fund?

Would you like to gift someone a particular heirloom such as a piece of jewellery or furniture?

Between whom do you wish your estate distributed? No doubt, you will be considering family, and then friends, organisations or charities. You can attach conditions to their receiving;

In the case of any child under 18 years old, you should appoint them a legal guardian.

You would be well advised to make provision for anybody who is financially dependent on you, including children, and even a former spouse; there is a risk they will bring a claim against your estate, if you do not.

What are your wishes for your funeral? Most importantly, do you want to have a cremation or a burial?

Who will you appoint as your executors? They may be family members, close friends, or professionals who have confirmed they are happy to do so. They will be entrusted with the administration of your will after you pass on..

Can an executor be a beneficiary of my will?

Yes. You can choose up to four executors – most people have two. It helps to choose at least one person who is financially experienced, and it’s sensible to choose people who you would expect to outlive you.

Must I use a solicitor to make my will?

You need not use a solicitor to draw up you will, but if you do not then you risk:

  • making a will that is invalid, and therefore unusable, in the eyes of the law;
  • producing a will that is badly worded, and therefore does not dispose of all your assets properly perhaps due to something as simple as ambiguous wording;
  • if you have an estate with a value in excess of £325,000, not minimising inheritance tax;
  • making a will which fails to include all the facets of your estate, family and wider circle that you ought to have addressed;

By talking over your affairs meticulously with a seasoned professional you can rest assured that all of your assets and responsibilities have been considered, and that we have set up any trusts that your dependants can draw on after you die.

Solicitors routinely draft documentation, and they are thoroughly trained to do so. They take it extremely seriously, and will drafting especially so, and there are many positive reasons for this. For example, they wish to maintain happy clients who return for future work. However, they are under enormous professional pressure, if they make a mistake. For your benefit, solicitors have Indemnity Insurance cover typically starting at £2,000,000 cover, for the extremely rare situation where a mistake or misjudgement is made in any aspect of their work. Other people or organisations helping you with your will may not have the same professional ethic and financial backing to compensate you.

You can also entrust a copy of your will with your solicitor, who will ensure it is preserved in their safe until it needs to be used. If you hold your will yourself, and it is lost, then an earlier version may be used to administer your estate, which may be totally against your wishes if you changed your mind on legacies, distribution and trusts.

How long does it take to make a will?

A more straightforward will can be set up quickly. However, on speaking with your solicitor, if you find things were not as simple as you thought, it may take longer. Once we have all the details from you, we can give you a quotation and a time estimate.

Although, generally, we ask you to allow for at least 5 working days from when we first see you, we do have an express service where we can produce your will immediately or on the same day. You will appreciate this does cost a little more, although some clients have extremely busy lives, will be going abroad perhaps, and want to quickly have their will created for signing just before they go. We are here to help; just call us.

What if I am seriously ill or about to have an operation, and need my will immediately?

In this situation, we can come to your home or hospital or other place of your choosing, and create your will in front of you for you to sign.

Must I come to your office?

Generally, either when we take instructions or when you actually sign your will;we like to see you at least once. This way, we can check the contents properly represent your wishes and not someone else’s, that we have understood you correctly and drafted accordingly, and that the witnessing is performed correctly. We also have a duty to ensure we believe you have testamentary capacity. Meeting you can be vital for ensuring this. If you are unwell, though, you should not overly worry. Many forms of illness do not automatically prevent you having the capacity to instruct us in your Will.

Can you help me if I want to challenge someone else’s will?

You may believe you have a claim against someone else’s estate, or that their will is invalid. If so, you can attempt to make a claim against their estate, and we will be happy to advise you on this.

What is a living will?

A living will is more to do with instructions to medical staff as one moves closer to death. Some people record how they wish things to proceed if their health becomes so compromised they are unable to make their own decisions or are at least perceived by others to lack the capacity to do so.

Currently in the United Kingdom there is no ‘right to die’. However, you can record in advance whether either you want to cease or prevent treatment that could delay your death or receive treatment that will reduce your suffering but bring on your death sooner.

Although a living will is not, strictly speaking, a recognised ‘legal document’, they have sometimes been followed. You would need to nominate someone to administer your living will on your behalf.

What receives a share if the beneficiary cannot be traced?

Family members often assume they will inherit if a beneficiary cannot be located. However, in most cases, the missing beneficiary can be tracked down, often by using an experienced genealogist. If this is not possible then there are other options available.

If you would like more information on how A K Gulati & Co may be able to help you, please contact us on: 020 8770 7979.