It isn’t fun, it isn’t exciting and it most definitely isn’t uplifting. However, an up-to-date, clear and precise will can really help to take the strain off your loved ones in the event of your passing. Include the right things, follow the correct procedures and get help from the relevant experts, and writing your will needn’t be a complex process.
Here are 10 basic tips to help you when thinking about writing your will:
- Identify exactly who you would like to benefit from your will.
- If you have children under the age of 18, then set out who you would like to care for them.
- Appoint a trusted executor. This is a person who carries out your wishes in accordance to your will. Beneficiaries, friends, family or even solicitors can act as executors; it’s completely up to you.
- Keep your will safe. There are a number of different ways to do this: you could leave it with your solicitor or bank, store it at the Probate Service for England and Wales or even simply keep it in a safe place at your home. Be sure to tell your executors where your will is stored.
- Keep your will updated. Things change, so don’t allow your will to get left behind. Review your will every 5 years to ensure that the instructions you left when you first wrote it are still relevant to your situation today.
- Sign your will in the presence of two witnesses and have them countersign. These witnesses or their married partners cannot be beneficiaries of your will.
- If your estate is likely to exceed the £325,000 and you are not leaving everything to your spouse, civil partner or a charitable organisation, then you may need to pay inheritance tax. Be sure to seek professional financial advice.
- Write clearly in your will and leave uncomplicated instructions. Leaving things up to interpretation is bound to cause confusion so avoid it completely by being crystal clear when writing down all of your wishes.
- If you have property abroad, own a business or you have a number of people who may wish to make a claim on your will, then things can get slightly more complicated. Instruct a solicitor and get professional advice.
- If you wish to make a major change to your will then you might want to write a new one entirely. If you choose to do this then you must totally destroy your previous will, by shredding or burning it. Include a clause in your new will, revoking all previous wills and codicils top ensure that no part of your old will remains valid.
Get the basics right, and you can rest easy in the knowledge that your estate is in order.
Learn more about how a LawBid solicitor could help you to write your will.