Making a Will is a painless task but is incredibly important to ensure that your loved ones are properly looked after.

What is a Will

A Will (last will and testament) is a legal document which contains your wishes about what you would like to happen to your assets and property after you die.

Is making a Will difficult

The hardest part of making a Will is taking the decision to make one. Once you overcome this the rest is easy.

Why make a Will

It is important for you to make a Will (Intestacy) whether or not you consider you have many possessions or money or even if you believe you are too young. It is important to make a Will because:-

  • If you die without a Will, there are certain rules which dictate how the money, property or possessions are to be distributed
  • Unmarried partners and partners who have not registered a civil partnership cannot inherit from each other unless there is Will, so the death of one partner may create serious financial problems for the remaining partner
  • If you have children, you will need to make a Will so that arrangements for the children can be made if either one or both parents die
  • It may be possible to reduce the amount of tax payable in Inheritance Tax if advice is taken in advance and a Will is made
  • If your circumstances have changed, it is important that you make a Will to ensure that your money and possessions are distributed according to your wishes. For example, if you marry after you have made a Will, then your Will becomes invalid and you would need to make a new one (changing a Will).

Who should make a Will

Anyone. You could be young, single, without children or have little in terms of assets, but your should still have a Will.

If your current Will does not reflect your wishes, then it can be changed. With an up-to-date Will the guarantee remains that you have complete control of who receives your assets.

What happens if I do not make a Will (Intestacy)

Without a Will, your family may end up with an expensive legal battle in having to prove their entitlement to your assets.

The rules of intestacy mean that the entitlement to your assets depends on where the person ranks in the hierarchy of entitlement produced by the Government.

Your individual circumstances are not looked at and, more importantly, it does not matter what you have previously expressed to anyone. Your wishes are not upheld unless you leave a valid Will.

How do I make a Will

You can prepare a Will yourself using self help guides (DIY Wills) or alternatively to ensure that you have expert legal advice you can contact a Solicitor.

If you chose to make an appointment with us, we will send you out a little questionnaire with some guidance notes to ensure that our meeting with you is simple, straightforward and pain free.

All you need to do is read and complete the questionnaire noting down any questions you may have.

What makes a Will valid

This is governed by section 9 Wills Act 1837. It provides that no Will shall be valid unless:

  • it is in writing and signed
  • The signature must intend to give effect to the Will
  • The Will must be witnessed by two or more witnesses present at the same time
  • Witnesses must sign in the presence of the person making the Will

Once signed, the will must be stored safely and must NOT be marked in anyway

The Will must also be updated when your circumstances change as this may render your Will invalid, such as getting married after making a Will.

Is it necessary to see a Solicitor

There is no need for a Will to be drawn up or witnessed by a Solicitor. If you wish to make a Will yourself, you can do so. However, you should only consider doing this if the Will is going to be straightforward and you understand the meaning of each clause and the consequences of them.

It is generally advisable to use a Solicitor or to have a Solicitor check a Will you have drawn up to make sure it will have the effect you want. This is because it is easy to make mistakes and, if there are errors in the Will, this can cause problems after your death. Sorting our misunderstandings and disputes after your death may result in considerable legal costs not forgetting unnecessary heart ache to your loved ones.

Some common mistakes in making a Will are:-

  • not being aware of the formal requirements needed to make a Will legally valid
  • failing to take account of all the money and property available
  • failing to take account of the possibility that a beneficiary may die before the person making the Will
  • changing the Will. If alterations are not signed and witnessed, they are invalid
  • being unaware of the rules which exist to enable dependants to claim from their estate if those dependants believe they are not adequately provided for in the Will

Foreign assets

If you have assets abroad, you should strongly think about writing a Will in the country where those assets are.

You must also remember that a Standard revocation clause needs to be amended so as to not revoke any foreign Will you have made.

What you can expect from us

We offer a professional service with straightforward advice on how to make your Will.

Unfortunately, history has it for Wills to contain legal jargon which is complicated to read and understand. We have devised a Will Pack which we send out to you with your draft Will which explains each clause of your Will so you know exactly what your Will means.

Making a Will has never been so easy.