for writing a will
Your assets: Make a list of your assets. These include bank
account balances, investments, retirement plans, life insurance policies, property,
valuables such as jewellery or works of art and any other possessions you want
to leave to a beneficiary. The sum of your assets is known as your estate.
Your debts: Make a list of any debts you owe. Your estate
will need to settle these debts from your assets before your beneficiaries can
inherit. These could include things such as credit cards debts, a car loan and
a partially paid mortgage. The first debt on your assets will likely be probate
costs and funeral expenses.
are the people or organisations who will inherit the belongings and assets you
Make a list of the people you want to leave something to
and what you want to leave each of them. If you also wish to leave donations to any charities in your will, make a
list of these. Include the charity’s full name, address and registered charity
number and how much you want to leave them.
Your executors: Executors
are the people who deal with distributing your estate after you've died. Being
an executor can involve a lot of work and responsibility so consider the
people you appoint carefully. It is recommended to have two executors.
will make sure your wishes are carried out and that your beneficiaries receive
the money or belongings you’ve left them. Their role can also include filing
your final taxes, paying any bills you left behind and closing your financial
children’s legal guardian: If you
have children, you will need to appoint a legal guardian in the eventuality
that their other parent predeceases you or has no parental rights. This legal
guardian will be responsible for your children’s welfare. That includes food,
shelter, health and schooling until age 18.
Other wishes: These could
include such things as who looks after any pets you leave behind. You may wish
to leave a sum of money to the new owner to help with expenses.
wishes: You may wish to leave instruction for your funeral. Some people just state
whether they want to be buried or cremated. Others list details of hymns,
songs, readings, poems, etc. that they would like included in the funeral
You can do this in a number of ways.
may wish to get advice from a solicitor who specialises in writing wills. This
is advisable if your family situation is complex.
Professional will writers:
Professional will writers aren’t qualified solicitors but they are generally
well-trained specialists. They will usually visit you in the comfort of your home
which can make the process of writing your will less stressful. If you decide
to use one, first check whether they are a member of the Institute of
charities offer free will-drafting services to encourage will-making and leaving
charitable legacies. If there is a particular charity that you wish to donate to
in your will, it is worth checking whether they provide this service.
Banks: Some banks
offer will-writing services and advice about estate planning. However, some
banks charge high fees for this service so beware of this.
Make your own will: You can
write your own will but you must make sure that it is valid. A will is a legal
document so it needs to be written and signed correctly. There are many online
services that can help you write your own will.
and witnessing the will: You must
sign your will in the presence of two independent witnesses who must also sign
it in your presence. All three people should be in the room together when each
one signs. If the will is signed incorrectly, it is not valid. Beneficiaries of
the will, their spouses or civil partners cannot act as witnesses.
Will storage: Store your will safely.
Leave your will with a solicitor, your bank or safely stored at home.
Make sure that your executors know where your will is kept.