It is also possible to utilise a will while you are still alive, via a document known as a Living Will. This sets out your final wish regarding medical treatment if you become too ill to communicate. Also known as an Advanced Decision, a Living Will enables you to outline what treatments you will accept or refuse, and other things such as your religious beliefs, dietary requirements, and where you ideally would like to be cared for. It is a legally binding document that ensures your wishes are taken into account.
It’s recommended that a will is reviewed every five years at most. A lot of things may change during this timeframe, so it is important to ensure that your document is as up-to-date as possible and reflects your current wishes. Wills can be updated as many times as necessary, so you always have the opportunity to ensure the right people will be taken care of — while also removing people you may not want to benefit from your Estate any longer.
Ready to Make a Will?
Get to Grips with the Basics
The first step is to understand exactly what a will does, its purposes and limitations. If you have a basic estate, writing a will is the ideal way to ensure your Estate is divided exactly how you wish. For more complex financial arrangements and to be more specific about how your assets should be utilised after you’ve gone, you may want to look into setting up a Trust or think about estate planning.
Deciding what will happen to your Estate after death may also prompt you to think about what you wish to happen should you become unable to communicate your final wishes, or if you ever lose the capacity to make your own decisions. Living Wills and Powers of Attorney can give you the peace of mind you need should these events come to pass.
Knowing exactly what goes into writing a will and the processes involved gives you the best possible chance of ensuring absolutely everything is taken care of.
Understand the Rules
Given that a will is a legally-binding document, there are several rules you need to follow to ensure everything is valid. The last thing you want is for your family to have to go through the struggle of dealing with an invalid will, so it’s essential to make sure that every step is carried out to the letter. Working with a specialist will writing service means nothing is left to chance.
Points to consider to ensure your will is valid include when it was made, who witnesses it and making sure it is signed – all of which we will cover in more detail later. There are many reasons why a will may be challenged after your death, such as a belief you were under undue influence, had been misled, or were not in sound mind. Following the rules exactly can minimise the risk of any challenges taking place.
Value Your Estate
Before you can decide how you wish to divide your Estate, it’s important to understand exactly what’s included and how much everything is worth. You should also take into account what debts you have, as these will be settled from your Estate as well — thereby reducing the amount of money you will be able to distribute. You should get your assets valued regularly, as their value can fluctuate due to market conditions.
The types of assets you may have include your home and any other property you may have acquired, money held in current and savings accounts, insurance policies, premium bonds, pension funds, vehicles, investments, jewellery and antiques, and furniture. Meanwhile, your debts could be in the form of mortgages, credit cards, overdrafts, loans, and equity release.
Decide How to Divide Your Estate
Once you have a clear idea about how much everything is worth, the next step in the process of writing a will is to choose how you want your assets to be distributed. You must set out exactly what you want to happen to your entire Estate. Points to think about include who you wish to benefit from your will, if you would like to give specific items to certain people, where the residue of your Estate should go, and what you want to happen if any of your beneficiaries die before you do.
You may also decide to donate a portion of your Estate to charity. In this situation, you would need to make sure to include their full name, address and charity number. Should any of this information be incorrect, the organisation may not be able to receive the funds.
Choose Your Executors
An executor is the person (or people) who will sort out everything to do with your Estate after you’ve died. Taking on this position carries with it a lot of responsibility, so it’s important to think carefully about who you want to choose. You should also check with them beforehand that they are willing to take up the position when the time comes.
Write Your Will
The next step is to set out clearly what you wish to happen to your Estate in writing. It is essential that you are as specific as possible so there can be no confusion afterwards. For example, you should take care to include a beneficiary’s full name and relationship to you and specify exactly which asset you want them to have. This is especially important if you have more than one vehicle or property.
Given that a will is such an important document, seeking the assistance of a specialist will writing service can give you the peace of mind you need that everything is taken care of.
Date and Sign Your Will
For your will to be valid, it must be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses. These people must also sign it in your presence. If you’re not physically able to sign your will, it can be done on your behalf at your direction. Should this happen, you must include a clause in your document to state you understood its contents before it was signed. Beneficiaries of your will should not act as witnesses, while it is also a good idea to exclude your executors as well.
A will is designed to set out your final wishes regarding what should happen to your Estate when you die. Given that your circumstances will likely change several times during the course of your lifetime, it is important to update your will regularly to ensure things are as up-to-date as possible. This is why dating your will is essential, as only your most recent document will be taken into account. If you do not clearly date your will, then any previous versions you may have will be used instead, or none at all if that was the only one you made.
Store Your Will
Finally, you should ensure that your will is stored safely. This can either be done at home, with a solicitor, or with a specialist service. Keeping your will secure is paramount to make sure it remains valid. Never try to attach anything to your document, as doing so could raise questions further down the line. It is also important to make your executors aware of exactly where your will is being kept.
Download our FREE Will Writing Guide
If you’re planning for the future, it’s vital that you consider what will happen not only to your assets, but your loved ones. Preparing your very own last will and testament is vital in ensuring that you are able to leave a lasting legacy for your nearest and dearest. Our FREE downloadable guide is designed to both inform and educate you on both the basics and the intricacies in the process of creating your very own will.
Executor of a Will Responsibilities
There are several important responsibilities that an executor must carry out when dealing with your Estate, including:
- Registering the death
- Making funeral arrangements
- Valuing the Estate
- Ensuring Inheritance Tax is paid
- Applying for probate
- Arranging the deceased’s finances
- Placing a deceased estates notice
- Distributing the Estate
- Keeping accounts of the Estate
Some of these responsibilities must be carried out as soon as a person dies, often within a matter of days. Given that there is so much responsibility involved, it is a good idea to seek specialist guidance if you are ever unsure.
Can an Executor of a Will Also be a Beneficiary?
Yes, it is entirely possible for an executor of a will to be included as a beneficiary. Because it’s possible to name a family member as an executor, it is extremely likely (and common) that you will also want them to benefit from your Estate as well.
However, it is also possible that you may not want to have an executor benefit from your will. For example, you could decide to leave your entire Estate to your child but have a close family friend act in the role of executor.
While it is possible for an executor to be a beneficiary, it is essential that they are not present when your will is signed or they do not act as a witness. If this happens, they will not be able to receive their legacy and will miss out on what you intended to give them.
While there are no set rules in place about where your will should be stored, you should make sure it is somewhere that is convenient to access, and that it is well looked-after. Storing it at home is the most convenient, however it will be much more likely to be lost or accidentally damaged. One place you should never store your will is in a bank safety deposit box. This is because your bank will not be able to open this box until probate has been granted — which cannot take place without the will.
It is important to note that if you die without making a will, and none of the above criteria applies to you (for example, you are unmarried, have no children or remaining family), you will be classified as dying “Bona Vacantia”. This means that your entire Estate will pass to the Government. This is another reason why writing a will is essential.
Dedicated to You
Absolutely everything we do revolves around ensuring our clients receive the best possible service and that their wishes are adhered to. We will take the time to understand your individual requirements and recommend the best solutions for you.
Decades of Experience
Over the years, our team has helped thousands of clients get the peace of mind they need that their affairs will be looked after once they’re gone. We’re highly-regarded in the industry and are proud to be members of the Society of Will Writers and The Professional and Legal Services Association.
With dedicated and experienced consultants across the country, we can visit you in the comfort of your own home to discuss your specific circumstances and wishes. A no-obligation and hassle-free method of ensuring your loved ones are taken care of.
Get Started with Creating a Will Today
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The Unregulated Estate Planning Industry: Just Wills and Legal Services' Commitment to Excellence When it comes to estate planning, where individuals prepare for the inevitable and safeguard the interests of their loved ones, one might assume there’s a high level of regulation to ensure the utmost professionalism and competence, similar to financial advice. However, it may come as a surprise to many that the estate planning industry in the UK is largely unregulated. In this blog, we will explore the state of the estate planning industry, the call for stronger regulation,
When picking Just Wills and Legal Services, you're making a wise decision that goes beyond the initial creation of your Will or Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). It's the assurance that your wishes are not only carefully crafted but also securely stored for when the time comes. In this blog, we'll explain the importance of proper document storage when it comes to estate planning, providing you with the knowledge you need to ensure your affairs are in order. Why Document Storage Matters Let's begin by emphasising the significance of storing your Will
At Just Wills and Legal Services, we believe in the power of legacy, the strength of family, and the importance of sound estate planning. That's why we are delighted to introduce you to Andy Price, our dedicated Sales Director. In the video below, you'll have the chance to hear directly from Andy about his remarkable journey, spanning from teaching to social work, probation officer, and eventually, his transition into the estate planning world. [embed]https://youtu.be/SU5EmMNcQQU?si=v8Oh2_cijvLPROwL[/embed] Andy's diverse background is a testament to the versatility and inclusiveness of the estate planning industry. He has
Can I Write My Own Will?
Yes, it’s entirely possible to write your will, either online or on a physical document. This is most suitable if you have a simple Estate and a small number of beneficiaries. For more complex Estates, it’s advisable to speak to a specialist will writing service to ensure everything is taken care of and nothing is missed.
What is the Cost of Writing a Will?
The cost of writing a will varies depending on your circumstances, such as how you choose to write it and whether it’s an original document or a mirror will. It also depends on which provider you choose to work with, such as a solicitor or specialist will writing service, or if you decide to do it yourself.
Our prices start at £47.50 for a DIY online will and £105 should you opt for our home visit service.
How to Write a Simple Will
A simple will is exactly as it sounds. It should outline what you would like to happen to your assets and Estate when you die. Simple wills are ideal for modest Estates, although people with more complex arrangements may want to think about Trusts and Estate Planning as well.
What is the Best Way to Write a Will?
There’s no correct way to write a will, provided you do everything necessary to make it valid. How you write your will should depend on your individual circumstances, requirements, and the complexity of your Estate. If you’re ever unsure, it is important to seek expert and independent guidance.
You can speak to our team over the phone, or book a home visit from one of our specialist consultants, who will go through your options and ensure everything is taken care of.
How to Update a Will
It’s important to update your will regularly to ensure it mirrors your existing circumstances. You could speak to the company that originally made your will and ask them to update it for you, or you may decide to create a brand new document if a lot has changed.
We offer a free annual updating service as part of our Customer Care package, which starts at £30 per year and also covers document storage. This is ideal if you want to make small edits to your will, such as changing addresses or adding new beneficiaries.
Is a Will Legally Binding?
Yes, a will is a legally binding document that outlines how your Estate will be handled upon your death. For this to happen, your will must be valid, and there are several elements that need to be taken care of to ensure its validity. Seek expert guidance if you’re ever unsure.
Can You Make a Will Over the Phone?
Yes, you are more than able to make a will over the telephone and via a video call. Your provider will go through your options with you just like they would with a home visit. They will then draft up your will according to the instructions you gave during the call.
We offer the opportunity to schedule a phone call or video call at a time to suit you, where a member of our specialist team will provide the same level of expert advice you would expect from a home visit.
What Age Can You Write a Will?
Although it’s more common to write a will when you’re over the age of 50, it’s actually possible to create a last will and testament when you reach 18. This is especially important if you have a young family or own property you will want to safeguard after you’ve gone.