How can we help? FAQS
Can you help me write my will?
Our Private Client team specialises in wills, tax and probate issues. In particular, writing a will is one of the most important things you can do to make sure the people and causes you care about get your money, property, possessions and investments in the event of your death. We make the process simple.
We would suggest following these steps. Consider:
- What do you have? Put together a list of your assets and debts which make up your ‘estate’. This will include your home and other property you own, bank and building society savings and any investments, pensions, insurance policies plus your car and any other motor vehicles, household contents including antiques and jewellery and other personal belongings. The value of assets can change over time so you may need to get higher value items valued regularly. You may find the services of a Financial Advisor useful if your assets are of a high value, and we can introduce you to trusted contacts in this field.
- Who would you like to appoint as Executors? These individuals will have the legal responsibility of carrying out your wishes as detailed in the will. we would suggest choosing two trustworthy people who are good at managing paperwork – and they must be 18 years old or over You can choose to appoint family or friends as executors, or you could appoint us as the Executors if you do not want to involve family or friends or if you think that there is going to be disagreement between your beneficiaries. Often people appoint us as a ‘back-up’ in case your chosen executors die before you, or if they need assistance if your affairs are complicated.
- What would you like to happen? Who would you like to benefit from your will? Are there particular people whom you would like to receive particular gifts or items? Would you like to leave a legacy gift to a charity? After funeral expenses, legacies and taxes have been paid, what would you like to happen to any left over property or money? You can divide your estate equally between beneficiaries or unequally (usually by percentages). You can make gifts contingent on beneficiaries reaching a certain age or you can include a trust to protect them if they are in receipt of benefits or likely to get divorced.
- It is time to write your will. At an initial meeting which can be at our offices, over the telephone, via Zoom or at your home (for a small additional charge), we will receive your instructions, and then prepare a draft will. Most of the wills we produce are under our Fixed Fee will package. We are also able to give you advice about inheritance tax.
- Sign the will. This is a vital step, as your will must be properly signed in the presence of two independent witnesses for it to be legally recognised. You must also have full mental capacity, and make the will voluntarily without any outside pressure. Each will should revoke all earlier wills you may have made.
- Store your will and let your executors know where it is. We offer free will storage for all wills we have prepared.
- Review your will every five years and if there is a change in your circumstances including moving house, getting married, separated or having children or grandchildren. A small change can be added to your will as a codicil. This must be signed and witnessed to be legal. For any larger changes, you will need a new will and should destroy the older one.
Visit the Wills page of the site to find out more.