How to make a will

You have worked hard to provide for your family and your Will can make sure that your love and care continue even when you aren’t around.

A Will is a legal document that states what you want to happen to your assets – such as money, investments and property – upon your death. If you have children under 18 or dependants (a disabled adult child, for example), you can decide who will look after them and make financial arrangements to provide for them.

When to make a Will

Ideally, everyone should have a Will written and prepared for the unexpected but in reality, most people assume they will get around to do it later in life.

While there is no set rule for when you need to make a Will, if you have a family and some items of value, then it is a good idea to do it earlier than later. Should the worst happen, there is one less worry for your loved ones if you already have a Will written.

Why is a Will important?

Dealing with grief and loss can be overwhelming and not everyone is ready to cope. If you have a Will, your loved ones can inherit smoothly in a short space of time. In your Will, you can state how you want your estate to be distributed according to your wishes. With careful planning, a Will can also help to reduce Inheritance Tax. More importantly, without a Will, the people you care the most may not be able to inherit as the rules of intestacy apply.

What goes into a Will?

1. List all assets and sentimental objects

In your Will, you mention all the assets that you have and their values. Remember to consider debts such as mortgages and Inheritance Tax because they will reduce the overall values.

Don’t forget to include items of value like family heirlooms and sentimental possessions like books, letters and silverware.

2. Name your beneficiaries

It is natural to include your spouse and children. It is also possible to include other family members, friends and charitable organisations that are close to your heart.

3. Plan who gets what

Technically, there are four types of legacy you can leave – pecuniary, specific, residuary, reversionary and contingent. For example, you want to leave £10,000 to your sister and this is considered a pecuniary bequest. If you want to leave your house to your spouse if they survive you, otherwise the house will go to your children, this arrangement is called a reversionary bequest. Our Wills and Probate solicitors can help you understand each legal term and create a carefully worded and error-free Will to avoid any future complications.

4. Remember your dependents

Your Will should not be just about money – it should also highlight who should be the guardians for your children if you die and make appropriate financial provisions for them as they grow up.

If you have young children or someone who depends on your, it makes sense to consider setting up a trust so their affairs are protected. The trust can last until a time when they can look after themselves or for life.

5. Choose your executors

An executor is a person who sorts out your estate following your death. The person has to be over 18 years old, trustworthy, and he or she can be one of your beneficiaries. For example, you may choose your spouse or one of your children as your executor. It is also wise to choose two executors – like a child and a solicitor – in case a relationship breaks down or one of them dies before you do.

Can you leave someone out in your Will?

English law cherishes testamentary freedom, meaning you can leave your assets to whoever that you like. However, if you choose to disinherit your spouse, your children, someone who has been treated as a child by you, and anyone whom you are providing for at the time of your death, they may choose to contest your Will under the Provision for Family and Dependents Act 1975.

If you are considering to disinherit someone who can challenge your Will under the Act, please contact us to create a watertight Will with clear reasons as to why you want to do so.

Updating or changing your Will

When your circumstances change, like when you remarry, have children, grandchildren, have more assets, it is good idea to review your Will and make sure it still reflects your wishes.

It is important to note that when you remarry in England or Wales, your new marriage revokes your previous Will. For more information, see this post titled Updating or changing your Will.

Requirements for a valid Will

For a Will to be valid, it must be:

  • Made by you voluntarily
  • Written clearly
  • Signed by you in the presence of two witnesses
  • Signed by the two witnesses after you have signed it
  • You have mental capacity to make decisions and understand the nature of your Will

Beware of these common mistakes

Many people assume that they can write up a Will themselves, either with the help of a website or a ‘do-it-yourself’ kit. In reality, it is easy to make mistakes that can invalidate your Will or leave it open for dispute. Some common mistakes include:

  • Spelling someone’s name wrong.
  • Writing multiple Wills.
  • The witnesses are also beneficiaries.
  • Amendments made without initials, dates or witnesses.
  • Something important such as naming guardians for your children has been left out.
  • The instructions are unclear or you have promised things you cannot provide.

Even a close-knit family can end up arguing and falling out over a badly written Will, so it is important to get one of our Wills lawyers to help you write one that is watertight and error-free.

Wills solicitors are experts who know exactly how to help you and give you peace of mind. So contact our Wills Solicitors today on 0208 520 4555. We will start by understanding your circumstances and taking your requirements into consideration. We will then tell you exactly how much it will cost and how long it will take – the process is transparent and without any hidden charges.

Scenarios where our Wills Solicitors can really make a difference

  • If you have a complex family with stepchildren, former partners, estranged children
  • If you want to protect the interests of a loved one
  • If you share a property with someone who is not your spouse
  • If you have property in another country
  • If you live in another country but have property in the UK
  • If you suspect an estranged family member will challenge your will

What happens if you don’t make a Will?

If you pass away without leaving a will, you become intestate, and the estate will then be shared out according to the rules of intestacy. If you are married or in a civil partnership, your spouse or partner receives a share, as well as any children you have. Other people may be left out, even if you would have liked to leave them something. If you have no spouse, children, or relatives – or if your relatives cannot be found – your entire estate might be passed on to the Crown.

Making a will with Romain Coleman

Your Will is one of the most important documents you will ever create and sign, as it clarifies your final wishes and gives your legacy to people you care the most. Most people have an idea about who they want to be the guardians of their children and who they want to leave their money to, but not everyone gets around to making a Will or creating one that prevents all future complications.

Use a specialist Will Solicitor like Romain Coleman to write your will, and by engaging us, you don’t leave anything to chance.

With Romain Coleman you can be confident that:

  • Your will is valid
  • Your will is free of errors
  • Your will is in safe hands
  • Your assets will be distributed according to your wishes
  • Your loved ones will be taken care of
  • Your estate will be cherished by people and organisations you are the most

Call us today

Your final wishes are important, so if you haven’t made a Will yet, call the London Wills and Probate Specialists at Romain Coleman on 0208 520 4555 or use our Free Online Enquiry form to get in touch.

Our Will writing service is highly affordable, saving you time, money and future complications. Our process and fee are also transparent – you know exactly how much it costs, how long it takes, and there is absolutely no hidden fee.