How to make a Will

man writing signature on paper

Approximately 50% of the public do not have a valid Will in place, and of that 50%, half of the Wills are not fit for purpose as they are not up to date. We find this statistic shocking when the importance of a legally binding Will cannot be understated, the benefits of writing a Will can be found in a separate article on our website. This article ‘How to make a Will’ is designed to help you with a starting point of what to consider when making a Will, as this is often what clients tell me is the most off-putting and not knowing where to start.

Preparing yourself for this task

Firstly, it’s not as difficult as you might imagine, our advisors will guide you through the process of giving us your Will instructions step by step and break it down simplistically.

Prior to an appointment, you should start by thinking of what your estate would be worth if you were to pass away tomorrow, the largest assets in most cases would be the family home. Take the current market value and subtract any mortgage outstanding. Do the same for any other properties such as buy to lets.

Next, you need to know what any savings and investments you may have are roughly valued at. This means the balance of current accounts, savings accounts, ISAs, shares and investments. With this information, we can then advise of if inheritance tax would be applicable to your estate and allow us to give you the best advice possible when it comes to the use of trusts when safeguarding estates to not exceed values that would have potentially negative tax consequences.

You may also want to think of items you own that may not have a large monetary value but have a sentimental value, for example, a family bible or photo albums that you want to mention in the Will to ensure these pass to the right persons. This may also be the case of personal jewellery such as engagement rings or wedding rings you want to leave your children or other family members.

Secondly, you then want to decide who is going to be appointed to do important roles for you in the Will, the major one being the Executor, we have further information on the role of an Executor and who to choose as an Executor under our frequently asked questions section.

The other important role is Legal Guardians if you have children aged under 18 years. Again, we have further information on what is a Legal Guardian, who to choose as a Legal Guardian in your Will and more in our frequently asked questions. You can appoint primary Guardians and secondary Guardians if you wish, i.e. grandparents of a child to be first guardians but if predeceased then siblings or friends to take the role.

The people you choose to appoint may well change over your life as circumstances change and that is why it’s important to review your Will and update it as needed. For example, once children are aged over 18 they can then be Executors of your Will once you believe they are mature enough to handle this responsibility. In the meantime, you may have appointed friends, siblings or parents.

Remember, the Executor is going to be responsible for the administration of your Will, they will have to obtain a grant of probate and then proceed to close bank accounts, collect investments such as shares, settle any debts the estate can afford, sell property and more before distributing the inheritance to the beneficiaries. While doing so they are liable for safeguarding the estate, you may consider appointing a professional to be the Executor of your Will if you do not feel you have a suitable friend or family member.

Stop putting it off

An endless amount of clients tell us making a Will is something they’ve put off years and is kept on the ‘to do’ list for far too long. Have peace of mind by calling ourselves today for further information on making your Will.