How to write or amend a Will
Writing a Will can seem daunting but it can be easier than you think. Making a Will is vital to ensuring your estate goes to the people and causes that are close to your heart.
The information here is intended to help make everything easier but we would always recommend you visit a solicitor or a member of the Institute of Professional Will Writers to assist you.
It helps to be prepared before you visit a Will Writing professional and it can save time and money.
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Things to consider - six simple steps
- Make a list of your assets and estimate the value of your estate.
- Make a list of what you owe, considering debts such as any outstanding mortgage, loans or bills.
- Decide who you would like to benefit and how.
- Choose your Executor, s/he will ensure the terms of your Will are carried out and meet your solicitor.
- Create a letter of wishes to help those who may make your funeral arrangements when the time comes and also to set out the reasoning.
- Keep it safe and up to date. Most people prefer to keep a copy with their solicitor and to keep their own copy in a safe place the Executor of the Will knows about. You should review your Will every 5 years or after any major life events, such as getting married or divorced, becoming a parent or grandparent or moving house.
For more information about the terms surrounding writing your Will, please visit our glossary of terms.
Reasons to have a Will and keep it up-to-date
Clarity of Wishes
An up to date Will gives peace of mind that your loved ones are looked after and it’s the only way to ensure your wishes are followed.
Make things easier for your family
At an already difficult time a Will allows you to make your wishes for your funeral known. It also prevents your loved ones having to go through the courts to gain the power to deal with your estate.
Protect your partners rights
It’s a common belief that spouses / civil partners / cohabitees are automatically entitled to inherit everything in fact, this is not the case.
Without a Will outlining your wishes, your whole estate could end up belonging to the Crown or government.
Minimise inheritance tax
A Will can help reduce the amount of inheritance tax that needs to be paid on your estate.
A Will allows you to remember a charity or charities whose cause(s) you believe are worthwhile.
Inheritance Tax (IHT) can be paid following your death on the value of your estate (and can also include the value of substantial lifetime gifts you have made and some types of trust funds).
Your solicitor or Institute of Professional Will Writers member will be able to guide you through this, and more importantly, they can tailor this advice to your particular circumstances.
If you would like more information, you can download our guide on how IHT works in relation to estates which include charitable gifts.