There are a number of standard legal requirements that must be met for a legal Will. This article covers the main points to consider when making a Will in Bristol

1.   Revocation

I …………………………….. REVOKE all former Wills and testamentary dispositions made by me and declare this to be my last Will ('my Will')

This clause is essential to ensure the document supersedes any previous ones made. If you simply wish to amend an existing Will then a codicil is sufficient

2.   Appointment of Executors

I Appoint…………………………… to be the Executors of this my Will

ALWAYS PROVIDED that if a trust is created in the following clauses of this my Will and no appointment of a Trustee is made in relation to that Trust I DIRECT that my Executors shall be appointed as my Trustees (hereinafter called 'my Trustees' which expression shall include the Trustee or Trustees for the time being hereof)

This clause serves two main purposes. Firstly you nominate a person(s) to administer your estate on your death. The other is that those nominated will also be your Trustees should a Trust be set up under the terms of your Will.

3.   Definition and Administration of my Estate

IN my Will where the context so admits “my Estate” shall mean:

all my real and personal property of every kind wherever situate over which I have a general power of appointment and
the money investments and property from time to time representing all such property

MY Executors SHALL HOLD my Estate UPON TRUST

to pay and discharge all my debts funeral testamentary and administration expenses and
to give effect to all legacies

This is very much a standard clause and sets out exactly what your estate entails.

4.   Distribution of the Residue

I Give Devise and Bequeath my Estate not otherwise disposed of by this Will or any Codicil to it (including any property over which I may have a general power of appointment or disposition by Will) to my Trustees upon trust to sell call in and convert the same into money with full power in their absolute and uncontrolled discretion to postpone such sale calling in and conversion for so long a period as they shall think fit without being responsible for loss

My Trustees shall hold the net proceeds of such sale calling in and conversion together with my ready money and any property for the time being remaining unconverted upon the following trusts:

Upon trust to pay thereout all my just debts legacies funeral and testamentary expenses and to any trusts declared earlier and subject thereto to hold the remaining funds ('my Residuary Estate') as follows:

Upon trust to distribute my Residuary Estate in the following shares:

This is very often the most important clause and outlines who receives your estate on your death. Reserve beneficiaries can be included and the residual estate can be split up as a percentage or shares.

5.   Conditional Gift at Specified Age of 21 Years

Any interest left in this Will to a beneficiary shall be conditional on them attaining the age of 21 years and shall carry the intermediate interest until that age I GIVE the power to my Trustees in their absolute discretion to advance part or all of such entitlement which my Trustees deem to be for their permanent advantage or benefit on such terms as shall in their uncontrolled discretion think fit

This clause specifies an age when minor beneficiaries receive their entitlement. Up until that age money can be made available for their maintenance and education.

6.   Executor and Trustee Powers

My Executors and Trustees shall in addition to and without prejudice to all statutory powers have the powers and immunities set out in The STEP Powers PROVIDED they shall not exercise any of their powers so as to conflict with the beneficial provisions of this my Will

Again a standard clause ensuring your Executors have all the powers necessary to administer your estate.

7.   Survivorship

Any Person who does not survive me by twenty eight days who would otherwise be a beneficiary under my Will shall be treated for the purposes of my Will as having died in my lifetime

This clause avoids the need for two sets of probate to be obtained if a beneficiary passes within a short space of time of the testator (i.e. the person making the Will in Bristol)

8.   STEP Powers

In my Will where the context so admits any reference to the STEP Powers shall mean the Standard Provisions and all of the Special Provisions of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (2nd edition) shall apply

Again a standard clause ensuring your Trustees have all the powers necessary to administer your estate.

9.   For the Avoidance of doubt

I Declare that

Clause headings are included for reference purposes only and do not affect the interpretation of my Will

Words denoting the singular shall include the plural and vice versa and the masculine includes the feminine and vice versa

Person shall include a body of persons either corporate or incorporate

References to any statutory provision shall include any statutory modification or re-enactment of such provisions

The reverse side of every page of my Will is intentionally left blank with the STEP Powers preceding this clause

This is to be the last clause of my Will and shall be followed only by the Attestation clause

And another standard to ensure the Will does not cause misunderstanding and possible court action.

This concludes an outline of a basic last Will and testament. Rose & Trust of Bristol have considerable Will writing experience and each document is unique to the testator.