Tips and Advice on Making Your Will
Writing a Will
While it’s possible to write a Will yourself, it’s not advisable. It’s easy to make mistakes which mean it wouldn’t be valid, so it’s best to get professional help. We are now working with the Goodwill Partnership, who make it very easy by visiting your home and helping you through the process, for just £98. Read more about our Easy Will Service.
But If you’re determined to go for the DIY option, you’ll find Will-writing kits in most stationers, or ready-made templates online. Otherwise it’s worth speaking to a solicitor. A list of solicitors is available from the Law Society website or you can search for a local one here.
Preparing to Write a Will
When planning to make your Will, here are some things you might want to do before going to see your chosen solicitor.
Think about your estate:
- Make a list of everything you own and what it’s worth (assets)
- Deduct any money you owe (liabilities)
- Include any life assurance policies and pension assets (if not already assigned or written in trust)
- Define a ‘working budget’ (the difference between assets and liabilities)
Think about your beneficiaries:
- Make a list of who you want to benefit not forgetting guardians for your children under 18 years of age
- Think about your wider family and friends
- Think about charities like Care for the Wild International
- Consider how much of your estate you would like each person or group to inherit
- Note any particular items such as jewellery or pictures that you might want to give to specific people
- Note those you don’t want to benefit
Get your paperwork together:
- Make a list of your ‘working budget’
- Make a list of the names and addresses of the beneficiaries
- Create a folder containing all the important information
- Contact your chosen solicitor or professional will writer
- STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) members specialise in trusts and estates, Executorship, Administration and related taxes. Consider a STEP practitioner if you think your affairs might involve complicated Inheritance Tax or trust matters.
Appoint your Executors:
- Choose people whom you know well and trust
- Think about family members, friends and perhaps a professional person (remember they may want to charge for this service)
- The Will must be signed by you in the presence of two witnesses – not beneficiaries or their partners, choose and ask these people
- If you change your Will, any changes must be signed and witnessed
Review your Will when circumstances change
- If you divorce
- If your partner dies
- If your children have children of their own
Keep your Will safe
- It’s important that those who need to are able to find your will
- Consider registering your Will. It’s not a legal requirement, but various companies offer – and charge for – the service.
Remember, it is really important that if you do decide to remember Care for the Wild International in your Will that you use the full and correct charity details – available here.