Help with making and updating your Will
Your Will should set out
- who you want to benefit from your will
- who should look after any children under 18
- who is going to sort out your estate and carry out your wishes after your death (your executor)
- what happens if the people you want to benefit die before you.
- We strongly suggest that you use a qualified solicitor to write a new Will or to amend an existing Will. You can find a local solicitor using the Law Society’s website – it is important to bear in mind, however, that the law regarding will writing is not the same throughout the UK.
- Before visiting your solicitor, it’s useful to have an idea of the value of your estate, and who you want to benefit from your Will – and in what proportion. Below is a guide of things you might like to note down before you go and visit your solicitor:
Think about your estate
- First, make a list of everything you own and what it’s worth (assets)
- Then, deduct any money you owe (liabilities)
- Don’t forget to 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 the beneficiaries
Firstly, make a list of who you want to benefit from your will, including family, friends and charities.
- Consider how much of your estate you would like each person or group to inherit
- Note any particular items (such as jewellery, pictures or heirlooms) that you want to give to specific people
- If you have children under 18, don’t forget to appoint guardians to care for them.
Think about your Executors
- Choose people whom you know well and trust: they could include 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 – who cannot be beneficiaries or their partners
- If you change your Will, any changes must be signed and witnessed
Get your paperwork together
- Make a list of your ‘working budget’ (the difference between your assets and liabilities)
- Make a list of the names and addresses of the beneficiaries
- Set up a folder containing all the important information you’ll need to take to your solicitor.
Don’t forget: Review your Will when circumstances change
- If you divorce
- If your partner dies
- Your children have children of their own
Keep your Will safe
- It’s important that those who need to can find your Will – you might want to let a close friend or relative know where it is stored.
- Keep your Will in a safe place.
- Consider registering your Will. It’s not a legal requirement, but various companies offer – and charge for – the service.