How to Make a Will: All You Need to Know

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How to Make a Will: All You Need to Know

A Will is one of the most important documents you’ll have to prepare in your life and can affect your friends, family members, and loved ones once you pass away. But what exactly is a Will, and why is it so important to make your own Will?

To find out more about the Will-making process, from deciding on your executors to physically writing your Will, continue reading.


What is a Will?

A Will is also known as a last Will and Testament. It is a legal document that states how to manage your affairs, including assets and finances, after your death. As well as your assets and finances, a Will can include your funeral arrangements, property distribution, children's arrangements, such as who will be their guardian and more.

Wills date back to ancient Roman times; they were created as a way to provide instructions after a person died. The idea of a Will has stood the test of time and is still as relevant as ever in 2024.


Why is it Important to Make a Will?

Making a Will is an important step to take, regardless of whether you have much money or assets. A Will states how your belongings will be divided and dealt with, giving you peace of mind knowing that your final wishes will be heard.

It is also an effective way of protecting your assets, your heirs, and your spouse after the event of your death. Outlining your final wishes and how you want your assets and finances to be dealt with in a legal document can prevent others from stepping in or making claims on your property.

There are also tax benefits to creating a Will. You might be able to reduce the amount of tax on any inheritance by creating a Will. If you aren’t married or don't have a civil partner, your partner will not be able to inherit your assets if you haven’t completed a Will, so if you want some of your assets to go to your partner, you need to include the request in your Will.

Likewise, if you have children, you should consider making a Will so you can have peace of mind knowing that you have made arrangements in the event of your death. You should also update your Will if your circumstances change; for example, if you separate from your partner or if your assets have changed.


How to Make a Will

Before writing your Will, you should value your estate. This involves creating a list of your assets, as well as your debts, where relevant. This can include properties you own, any vehicles, savings, pension funds, insurance, as well as jewellery and other personal belongings. Let's go through the process of creating a Will.


Choose Your Executors

You should choose who your executors will be. Executors are people assigned to dealing with and distributing your estate once you have died. Be sure to choose the people you appoint as the executors of your Will carefully, as it can be a big responsibility and involve a lot of paperwork.

You should also ensure that the people you appoint are willing to be the executors of your Will. Be sure to let them know where they can find your important documents, such as passwords, insurance policies, and your Will.


Choose Your Beneficiaries

As well as appointing who will be the executors of your Will, you should also decide who will inherit all the assets that you own. These are known as beneficiaries. Many people decide to name backup or alternate beneficiaries in case the first people you choose to inherit your assets or finances die before you.


Record Your Assets

You’ll need to include a list of your assets as well as your debt. This could include any homes or land you own, stocks, heirlooms, bank accounts, as well as mortgages, loans, and personal debts.

If you own something with somebody else, like 50% of a property, then you can only list your share of the property. If you have debts, then it is the responsibility of your executors to pay these debts from your assets and money before anyone receives any inheritance. Be sure to inform your executors of any debts so they can figure out how to deal with them.


Writing Your Will

Writing a Will is often considered the most difficult part of the Will process. A solicitor can give you all the advice you need when writing a Will. Working alongside a solicitor means you'll have access to professional advice and guidance throughout the process, which is crucial.

There are several ways that you can write a Will. Most people choose to work with a professional Will writer; however, they aren’t qualified solicitors and aren’t always regulated. If you plan on using professional Will writers, we recommend that you check that they are certified members of the Institute of Professional Will writers.

Some individuals also choose to write their Will through their bank. Many banks offer Will-writing services as well as expert advice while you deal with estate planning documents. If this is something you’re interested in, you can contact your local branch to book an appointment. However, this can be costly and often it is a Will writer, rather than a solicitor who prepares the Will.

Some charities can help you write a Will as a way of encouraging people to donate some funds to charities when they die. If you decide to donate funds to a charity, be sure to check if they have a registered charity number.

It’s entirely possible to create a Will yourself, as long as you ensure that the Will is legally valid. As Wills are legal documents, they need to be written correctly and signed in the presence of independent witnesses, which is why it is always best to receive advice from a solicitor to avoid making any common mistakes.


Making a Will With Bell Lamb & Joynson

If you feel like now is the right time to create a Will, you'll be glad to know that the team at Bell Lamb & Joynson can help. It’s usually best to receive advice from a Wills and Probate solicitor, and we have a team of them here at our trusted firm.

Our expert Wills and Probate services are second to none, and you can rest assured that our dedicated team of solicitors have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field.

Although we always recommend that you liaise with a solicitor when making your Will, it’s especially advisable to use a Wills and Probate solicitor if you expect that several family members might make a claim on your Will, such as an ex-spouse.

Likewise, if you share property with somebody that you’re not married to or in a civil partnership with, a solicitor can help you deal with the legalities involved. Here at Bell Lamb & Joynson, we want to carry out your wishes properly.

Our team will advise, guide, and inform you of the Wills and Probate process, making it as streamlined as possible for you. If you don’t reside in the UK permanently or own property overseas, our solicitors can help; the same applies if there is a business involved.

Please feel free to contact our dedicated Wills and Probate team at Bell Lamb & Joynson today to learn more about our services and to discuss Wills and Probate costs.

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