Writing your Will might seem scary – you do not want to be reminded of your own mortality and the specifics of the process can be daunting. However, by taking the time to write it just as you want it, you can rest easy in the knowledge that your assets will fall to the people of your choosing.
Here are some rather astounding facts to consider:
61% of people surveyed have not written a Will.
1 in 10 with a Will have not told anybody where they keep it.
1 in 4 have never considered writing a Will.
23% believe they are too poor to have a Will.
Almost half of people between the ages of 55 and 64 have not made a Will.
13% gamble on writing their own Wills, despite best practice being to consult a professional expert.
77% of parents with children under the age of five have not made a Will.
Source: Foresters Friendly Society
69% of people surveyed under the age of 40 do not have a Will.
3 out of 4 people with a Will have not reviewed it in the last 10 years, despite changes to their marriage or ownership of business.
2 out of 3 are unaware of the location of the original copy of their parents’ Wills.
Source: Unbiased.co.uk, Certainty.co.uk
What is the cost of making a Will?
You can expect the cost of making a Will to vary depending upon the complexity of your affairs. The cost of a Will is going to be higher if its affairs are complicated, e.g. if it involves trusts or any properties located in a foreign country.
Why should you write a Will?
You decide how your assets are shared instead of leaving it at the discretion of the legal authorities.
You can ensure your partner will inherit, even if you are not married.
If your marriage/civil partnership has ceased, you decide if an ex-partner living with someone else will receive anything.
There is less likely to be a family dispute.
You can grant specific preferences, including a guardian for any children under the age of 18.
You can ensure that, if you have a young child, they can receive their inheritance once they reach a specified age.
You can decide on the identity of your executor, namely the person who will manage your estate and carry out your wishes after your death.
You can determine what will happen if the intended beneficiaries of your Will die before you.
Why do people decide not to make a Will?
They don’t expect to die soon and don’t see it as a matter of urgency.
They mistakenly believe a Will is exclusively for wealthier people.
They associate Wills with frightening thoughts about impending death.
They don’t know where to start.
They don’t feel comfortable discussing it with a person they don’t know.
They don’t want the need of updating it every time their circumstances change.
They find it hard to make key decisions such as choosing the executor of the Will.
Tips for writing a Will
Choose a fully qualified solicitor to assist you in writing your Will.
Choose an executor who is responsible enough to properly manage your estate.
Appoint a substitute executor in case your chosen executor dies with you, e.g. in a car crash.
Carefully consider who will be guardian to any children under the age of 18.
If setting up a trust, appoint trustees who are competent with financial matters.
Be specific when bequeathing items to people in your Will.
Specify who will receive your residue, i.e. what is left over after making specific legacies.
If you include a trust in your Will, you could save your children large amounts worth of inheritance tax.
Ensure you sign it in front of two independent witnesses, i.e. people with no mention or involvement in the Will.
Once written, store your Will in a safe place and inform the executors where it is kept.
This video from the Law Society of England and Wales explains the most important pitfalls to avoid when writing a Will.
What if you need to change a Will?
Your life circumstances are subject to change, so even if you have already made a Will, it is crucial to review it at least once every five years, although it is most ideal to change a Will as soon as possible after a significant alteration to your life circumstances, such as:
Getting married (This will immediately invalidate any Wills you have made previously.)
Getting a divorce or separation from your husband or wife
Having a child
Moving to a new home
The death of the executor of your Will
You cannot change a Will after it has been signed and witnessed unless you make an official alteration known as a codicil, which is a document that enables you to make changes to an existing Will after it has been signed and witnessed in a similar fashion to a Will. There is no limit on the number of codicils that you can apply to a single Will.
If there are significant changes in your life circumstances, such as the examples mentioned above, it is often advisable to write a new Will from scratch. This new Will should explain that it officially revokes any previous Wills and codicils. If you create a new Will, you should destroy the old Will by burning or shredding it.
Why you should entrust Will writing to I Will Solicitors
If you write your own Will, it is likely to contain common mistakes such as using an unsuitable witness or neglecting to sign it. We will guarantee that no such errors occur in the writing of your Will, as mistakes like these could invalidate the entire document.
Inheritance law can be very complicated for the general public to understand, whereas we are experts in this area and we will help you to make the most appropriate choices vis-à-vis matters of inheritance tax or trusts.
We will store the original Will for you in a fireproof safe so that it is securely protected in worst case scenarios. This storage is free of charge.
We explain your options in full so that you can make the decisions that are right for you.
We only give advice that’s right for you and this best-interest advice is completely confidential.
We offer a free initial consultation and we will gladly advise you on any area of the Will-writing process in which you would like information and guidance. To arrange a Will writing consultation, you can call us on 0121 603 0077.