Filling in the short form below will instantly give you a set of contact details for people who can help you with the writing of a will. You will be provided with their contact details, all within less than a second, and you will then be able to contact them directly to discuss your situation in more detail.
Benefits of writing a will
If you’re reading this you are probably well aware of the benefits of writing a will but it is probably worth a reminder of why you are embarking on this process (or should be!). You will save a lot of anguish and financial concerns for your family and anyone else who may benefit from your will (beneficiaries) because your wishes have been laid down formally. If you die intestate (without having made a will), the intestacy rules apply and you will not have a say as to who inherits your money, property and other possessions. Moreover, the government may inherit your estate, rather than your family!
How to proceed with writing a will
There are various options when writing a will. Most people contact a solicitor or will writer who guides them through the process but you can also go to a bank or building society providing a will writing service or use an online will writing process. By completing the form above, you will immediately receive estimates and contact details for experts in your local area and they will be given your details so you can make direct contact and discuss your requirements before obtaining an accurate quotation.
Before deciding how to proceed you may wish to check that the suppliers on your shortlist are registered with the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the Institute of Professional Will Writers or the Society of Will Writers. If you require advice on inheritance tax, remember to ask about this and check the supplier has the appropriate tax qualifications or experience.
If you employ a solicitor, you will be able to see them face to face to ensure the will achieves what you desire. They will be qualified and regulated, so you or your dependants will have some route to redress if anything goes wrong. It is also likely that a solicitor will be able to store the will for you, possibly free of further charges. Will writers don’t have to be qualified or regulated so you may wish to check they belong to one of the trade bodies mentioned above.
Questions to consider before you proceed:
Who do you want to leave your estate to (the beneficiaries)?
Is there anyone that you do not want to benefit from your estate?
What is the total value of your estate likely to be?
Are there likely to be any inheritance tax implications?
Are there any specific items (e.g. family mementos) that you would like to go to a particular person?
If you have children under the age of 18 who will be their guardians?
Do you want to leave any money to charity?
Who will manage the estate after you have gone (your executor or executors)?
If you go to a professional for a single will, it may cost around £120 or £200 for a couple. Online wills may be cheaper and a professional dealing with inheritance tax or more complex planning could charge up to a few hundred pounds. You should be aware of the cost relating to executors. Some suppliers will perform the role of sole or joint executor, often for a percentage of the value of the estate (up to 5%). If the estate is not complex to deal with, this could be an expensive option. You may wish to appoint lay executors who can involve professionals to assist with probate as required.
Reviewing your will
It is advisable to review your will every few years to see if it needs amending or re-writing. Your circumstances may have changed (e.g. if you marry, have children, get divorced) or you might have changes to make to the beneficiaries, in which case this can be done by codicil (an addendum to the original will) or by revoking the original will and writing a new will. The original must not be changed. The codicil should be kept with the existing will.
Your new will must be signed and witnessed. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, two witnesses are required. They should be in the same room when the will is signed and they must not have any beneficial interest in the will. In Scotland, normally one witness is acceptable. If a codicil is written, your signature on it must also be witnessed.
You should keep your will in a safe place and a location where your executors will be able to find it. We have already mentioned that a solicitor can store it for you. Another safe option would be to have multiple copies with you retaining a copy and your executors and possibly also beneficiaries having copies. You might decide you do not want your beneficiaries to see a copy until after you have died. You will need to consider this carefully but keep in mind that it may be safer to have more than one copy.
Something else to consider whilst making a will, is whether you wish to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA is a document that appoints somebody to act for you should you become unable to manage your own affairs.
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