Writing a will can be something that many people prefer not to think about, however, it is a very important way of protecting your loved ones and ensuring your property is disposed of according to your wishes after you die. It is also normally a straightforward procedure that a solicitor can help you sort out. Here are some of the steps you should take to write or update a will.
Once you have appointed a family solicitor, they will ask you a series of questions to ascertain your wishes. For example, how do you want your property distributed and to whom? Are there any special gifts you would like to specifically list in your will? Any conditions of those gifts, e.g. reaching a certain age? What do you want to happen to any businesses or commercial property that you own, or have a share in? Do you want to make a charitable bequest?
Do you know who you would like to look after your children and other dependents after your death? How about your pets? Your will is the ideal place to name guardians and anyone else you would like to be involved in their care. You should also make a note of your funeral wishes and preferences, e.g. do you wish to be buried or cremated?
Another decision that you will have to make is who you want to act as your executor. This is the person or organisation responsible for reading your will and carrying out the wishes contained within it. They will also normally oversee the distribution of bequests and the winding up of your estate. This can be a close relative or friend, or a professional person with expertise in the field. Your choice will depend on how complicated the terms of your will are. Executors can, however, enlist expert help for complex matters, e.g. unravelling a trust.
Once you have decided what you would like your will to say, your solicitor will draw it up for you to check. You then need to sign your will, along with two independent witnesses who mustn’t be related to you, or benefit from it financially in any way. That is all it takes to create a legally valid will. Keep it in a safe place, or store it with your solicitor if such a service is offered. You are allowed to alter and update your will at any time, but make sure that the most recent version is easily accessible to prevent any confusion or disputes after your death.