Making a Will Checklist

Author:
Nadia Rimmer
Solicitor, Advocate
Date:
06/10/2020

It’s important that your Will includes everything you need it to. You also need to follow the correct process for writing and signing a Will to make sure it is legally valid in England and Wales.

Our Wills and Trusts Solicitors can help you make a Will. They provide expert legal and Inheritance Tax planning advice and will make sure that your Will is legally valid.

To help you with things to consider before making a Will, we’ve put together a step-by-step checklist:

  1. Include Your Personal Details

You’ll need to provide your personal details such as your full name, date of birth, relationship status and address. You’ll also need to include personal details of any children you have, such as their name and date of birth. Make sure that these details are as up to date as possible at the time of writing your Will.

  1. Set out Your Estate and Assets

The value of your Estate is calculated on your assets and debts. This usually includes:

  • Any property you own
  • Any bank or savings accounts
  • A mortgage
  • Your credit card balance and any overdrafts on your bank account
  • Any loans in your name
  • Insurance such as life assurance or pensions
  • National Savings e.g. premium bonds
  • Investments such as stocks and shares
  • Any motor vehicles you own
  • Furniture and household items
  • Personal belongings such as antiques and jewellery

Make a list of everything you can think of along with their value and whether or not they’re owned solely in your name or with a joint name. It’s best to evaluate the value of your assets regularly as it can change over time.

If you need help valuing your Estate, one of our Wills and Trusts Solicitors can advise you.

  1. Decide Your Beneficiaries

It’s important to set out exactly how you want your Estate to be divided. You can choose to leave everything to one person or you can split it across several beneficiaries. Usually, your beneficiaries will be a husband, wife or civil partner, children and grandchildren, but you can choose to include any friends, family members and charities in your Will.

You should consider:

  • How many beneficiaries you want to include in your Will
  • Whether you want to divide your Estate equally or leave specific gifts to people e.g. a special family heirloom
  • What you want to happen to a beneficiary’s share if they die before you
  • Who you want your Estate to go to if your partner and children die before you
  • Protecting any children you have with a Will Trust – as this protects your share of the Estate if your husband, wife or civil partner remarry after your death

However you decide to divide your Estate, you need to include the full names and addresses of your beneficiaries, setting out clearly what you are leaving to each.

  1. Choose Your Executors, Legal Guardians and Trustees

Executors, Legal Guardians and Trustees are slightly different, and while you’re required to assign someone as an Executor of your Estate, you won’t necessarily need to appoint Legal Guardians and Trustees as well.

  • Executors - Executors are responsible with the task of distributing your Estate. The role of an Executor involves a lot of duties and responsibilities, so it’s important that you pick people you know and trust. You can choose to have more than one Executor or just have the one.
  • Legal Guardians - You’ll need to appoint Legal Guardians if you have any children under the age of 18. They’ll be responsible for looking after your children if you die before they turn 18.
  • Trustees - If you want to put your assets such as money or a property into a Trust, then you’ll need to appoint Trustees to manage these. Your Trustees can be the same as your Executors or Legal Guardians, or you can appoint separate people for each.

Whoever you choose, you’ll need to provide the full names and addresses for all Executors, Legal Guardians and Trustees.

  1. Record Any Other Wishes

If you have any specific requests, such as what you want to happen at your funeral, then you’ll have the option to add these into your Will.

  1. Make Your Will

Now you’ve sorted out the important details, it’s time to make your Will. You can choose to do this by yourself, but we always recommend getting expert legal help. Our Wills and Trusts Solicitors can help you with:

  • A Solicitor drafted Will
  • A Solicitor assisted Will
  • A fully protected Will which includes two Lasting Powers of Attorney

We offer a range of Fixed Fee Will writing services, for details see cost of making a Will.

If you do decide to make your Will without a Solicitor, you still need to make sure it’s legally valid.

  1. Sign Your Will

You must sign your Will in the presence of two witnesses, who must then also sign the Will in front of you. If the Will isn’t signed correctly, it won’t be legally valid.

  1. Keep Your Will Safe

If you make a Will with us, it will be stored securely so you won’t have to worry about it getting lost. If you make your Will without a Solicitor it’s important to keep it somewhere safe and let your Executors know exactly where it’s stored.

As family circumstances and the value of assets can change over time, it’s best to check your Will every few years to see if it accurately reflects your wishes.

For free legal advice call our Wills & Trusts Solicitors

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