Will writing guide: How to Write a Will and the options available to you

Your Will is an important document which takes effect following your death. In your Will you can:

  • Appoint Executors (the people who will manage, collect and distribute your estate, as well as settle debt or taxes due.)
  • Appoint guardians to look after your children until they reach 18
  • Include cash inheritances or gifts of specific items (such as your jewellery, pet, car, or house) to family, friends or charity.
  • Set out which family, friends or charities are to receive the remainder of your estate, and whether this is an outright gift or access to funds are controlled in a particular way. For example until they reach a certain age, or through a trust fund.

If you die without a valid Will, the government’s rules of intestacy will determine who inherits your estate. This sets out an order of entitlement within your family and so your estate may not be divided in the way you would like. The rules are inflexible and can cause unexpected results, particularly if you have an unmarried partner or have children. They do not include arrangements for the care of your children and can expose your assets to unnecessary tax.

How to make a Will

Making a Will doesn’t have to be complicated. You can do it yourself through a DIY pack or instruct a Will drafter or qualified solicitor to do so on your behalf.

Whilst making a Will yourself may appear attractive as it’s cheaper, it can be risky even if you think your circumstances and wishes are straightforward. Errors may only be identified after you have died at which time it might be too late, or at least much more expensive, to correct them.

Figures suggest that poorly drafted or ineffective DIY Wills are to blame for a lengthy probate ordeal for 38,000 families a year.

Problems can include errors in expressing your intentions, identifying your beneficiaries accurately, failure to dispose of your entire estate, and failure to execute your Will correctly.

A professional will be able to review your circumstances and advise on potential issues which may arise from your instructions. They’ll also identify opportunities which are available to you through your Will which you might not have considered such as;

  • who it is sensible to appoint as your executors,
  • measures to help avoid disputes between beneficiaries,
  • tax planning,
  • future protection of your assets, for young or vulnerable beneficiaries, or to protect your estate from being used to fund care home fees.

Will drafters do not have to be legally qualified, insured or a member of a professional body. Solicitors do.

Our Wills and Probate team advise clients all looking to protect their finances, property, and other valuable goods after they’ve died. We recognise how important it is that this is done correctly, to provide peace of mind to everyone involved.

We are on hand to help with any queries you may have in regards to Will writing. Our Wills solicitors are based in Wakefield, Dewsbury, and Horsforth. Feel free to call us on 0330 300 1103 or request a call back by clicking here.

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