How to Write a Will

Your Will is a crucial legal document, which can make starting one a little daunting! We’ve put together this handy guide with the essential steps for how to write your Will, including what you’ll need and where you can find the best legal advice. 

Making a Will: Where to Start

Before you sit down to start writing your Will, there are several things to consider:

  • Your estate – do you know how much your estate is worth and what assets you own? Have you considered any debts you are responsible for, such as a mortgage? Assessing the total value of your estate and totalling up assets such as houses, cars, and jewellery is one of the first steps you should take so you can start deciding how to parcel them out. 
  • Beneficiaries – knowing who you want to leave your assets to is vital when writing your Will. You may choose to leave everything to your spouse or gifts to your children and grandchildren too. You could leave many types of gifts, such as residuary gifts made up of a percentage of your estate (after all debts and taxes have been paid) or fixed gifts of set amounts of money or assets. You will need to provide the names and addresses of your beneficiaries, and if you want to leave a gift to charity, you will need its charity reference number. 
  • Executors – executors are another essential part of the Will writing process. These people will manage your estate after you pass away, including paying taxes and giving out gifts. You can choose up to four executors and name replacements if your original executors cannot act. Some decide to appoint a professional executor to take the weight off their loved ones’ shoulders during a difficult time. However, this can be costly, so assessing which option would work best for you is important. 
  • Trustees – if you want to include trusts within your Will or estate, you will need trustees to manage them. Once you put your assets into a trust, they no longer belong to you. Instead, they legally belong to the trustees, who then distribute them according to your wishes. Your trustees can be the same as your executors if you wish. 
  • Witnesses – for your Will to be valid, it needs to be signed by you and two witnesses. These witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of your Will – if they are, your gift to them may fail, and your entire Will could be found invalid. Keep a detailed list of who you want to inherit your assets and consider who would be best to ask as a witness. Anyone over eighteen with full mental capacity can be a witness. 
  • Funeral wishes – you can use your Will to express any funeral arrangements you wish to have. However, your loved ones may not discover your Will until after your funeral. Wishes aren’t legally binding, so it may be better to leave a letter to your executors or discuss funeral arrangements with your loved ones instead. 

Don’t forget about your personal information, either! It can be easy to get caught up in the small details, such as who will be a witness, so remember to include your full name, date of birth, relationship status, and any children you have. 

Writing Your Will

When you are ready to start writing your Will, there are a few different options. Some people use a solicitor, although this can be expensive. Others choose DIY Will kits, which are often not reviewed by legal professionals and can include costly mistakes. 

A popular option is a Will writing service such as The Planning Bee. While cheaper than a solicitor, Will writing services provide sound legal advice from highly qualified experts with years of experience in the Wills and probate field. 

The experts at The Planning Bee can help you write your Will from the comfort of your home without costly solicitor fees or the risk of making mistakes that could lead to an invalid Will. We also advise on and create trusts and lasting powers of attorney to complete your estate plan. 

When writing your Will, we are with you every step of the way. We will email a draft to you once completed and include any amendments you may have. Once you approve and sign it, your Will will be complete, and your wishes will be legally binding. 

Updating and Changing Your Will

The future can always change, and you may want to update your Will in the next few years. As a general rule, you should review your Will every five years, but significant life changes can also prompt a change. 

For example, if a new grandchild is born, you may want to amend your Will to include a gift for them. Other reasons you may need to change your Will include:

  • Moving house 
  • If you divorce your partner 
  • Buying or selling assets

Any minor changes you may have can be changed by a codicil, which must be signed and witnessed like a Will. However, if you have significant changes like divorcing your partner, writing an entirely new Will might be easier and more cost-efficient. 

If you marry or remarry after divorce, any of your previous Wills are automatically revoked, so you will need to create a new one from scratch. Without one, you have no say in who your assets will go to when you pass away!

Starting your Will can seem intimidating, but it is much easier than you may think. With the help of The Planning Bee, you can create a watertight Will reviewed by legal professionals so you can relax knowing your wishes Will be honoured when you pass away. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about our bespoke services. 

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