Making a will is never easy. Armed forces personnel put their life on the line to protect others, so a Will is often in place earlier than for civilians. The Ministry of Defence provides Form 106, which provides a simple Will.
Topics to be answered in this article
What is Form 106?
MoD Form 106 is a form that soldiers use (and officers can use) to draft a last Will and testament.
It has the effect of dealing with your personal effects when you die. It takes effect whether you die on active duty or not and you should really consider it a stop-gap until you can get a replacement drawn up with a solicitor or suitably qualified Will drafter.
Your possessions are distributed according to your last wishes as written down onto Form 106. However, these are more often than not drawn up without the benefit of any legal advice and that can lead to some tricky situations arising. The forms are designed to be followed and completed where your post death matters are simple and uncomplicated. The Form gives the briefest of advice that allows it to be completed correctly, but lacks any legal explanation.
When might a Form 106 not be suitable?
The form itself gives guidance on what situations cannot be covered by this Will and where it is advisable to get proper legal advice. These situations are;
- Where you own property with someone who is not your spouse or civil partner;
- Where you are likely to need a trust, such as for a child who is unable to care for themselves;
- Where you have been married before and have either an ex wife or children who might make a claim against your estate. This includes children that you might not want a current partner to know about, but whom you may wish to make some provision for;
- Where there is a business involved;
- Where anyone who is going to benefit from your Will is drawing state benefits;
- Where the executor is living outside of the UK;
- If on death sorting out your estate is likely to be complex, or it is of a high value.
All of these reasons are potentially troublesome if your Will is recorded using MoD Form 106. The complexity of this area of law means that unless your estate is completely straightforward; i.e that you are single, or want very small specific things giving to specific people then professional advice is often warranted. In my experience, MoD Form 106 is useful in limited circumstances such as for the younger soldier or officer who is just starting out in their military career, and finds themselves deploying on operations quickly.
Another area that can catch the MoD Form 106 user out are the “formalities” of witnessing the form. Although the form specifies that a beneficiary should not sign the Will as a witness, this can happen.
How often does a will need to be changed?
You should consider updating your Will quite regularly. It doesn’t mean you have to update it, but just check that it achieves what you want it to achieve. You should consider when your personal circumstances change, such as getting married, or divorced. Divorce has the effect of treating your ex-spouse as if they had died before you when reading the Will. Divorce does not invalidate your Will, but it does cut the ex out of it. Special attention however needs to be paid where you have appointed your ex-spouse as sole executor.
How much does a will cost?
As to costs, at Goughs we offer a discount to serving and veteran service personnel. We understand service life well, with some of the Goughs team being spouses of service personnel, or veterans themselves, and so as part of our efforts to give back to the community, we offer services at reduced costs. We understand the nuances of service life.
How can Goughs help?
Wills are tricky and it pays to get experts to deal with them for you even if you think they might be simple. We offer an initial appointment free of charge, face-to-face or by telephone, at a date and time convenient to you and a 10% discount on all Goughs’ fees for military families.
Please get in touch to discuss your requirements, and how we can apply our knowledge to assist you in meeting your objectives in passing on your estate without fuss or fanfare.