Exceptional Wills – There is One Exception…

Exceptional Wills There is one exception to the rule that a will must be in writing and properly signed and witnessed. A member of the armed forces who is on active service (even if under 18) is entitled to make a will without formalities, eg in the form of a email. During active service, a soldier might say to a mate : ‘Please see that my wife / partner gets everything if I do not come through.’ Such a declaration, even though not in writing, could operate as a valid will. Choosing the Executor(s) Naturally, the testator should choose his executor(s) with great care.

An obvious person for him / her to appoint is whoever stands to receive the greatest benefit under it, eg his wife / partner . He will be wise also to appoint a younger person, perhaps a son or daughter, to act as co executor. If the testator wishes to appoint someone other than a close relative, he should consult that person beforehand to make sure that he is agreeable. The duties of an executor can be time-consuming and, furthermore, an executor cannot ask to be paid for his trouble unless the will specifically allows it.

Otherwise, he may claim only expenses such as travel, but nothing for his efforts or loss of time. However, the executor may employ a solicitor to do all the legal paperwork involved in proving the will and winding up the estate, and in that case the latter’s fees will count as an expense in the same way as funeral expenses do, and will be payable out of the assets of the deceased.