Why write a will?
Writing a will is important because it ensures that everything you have worked hard for, your money and property, goes to those you love and care for after you die.
Without a will you have no control over what happens to your estate, the Laws of Intestacy decide who gets what. You could also end up paying a higher rate of Inheritance Tax on the value of what you leave behind if your will is invalid or you do not have one.
What should a will include?
Your will needs to include all of the assets that you wish to leave behind in the case of your death, including savings, possessions and property. If you have children under the age of 18, you should include the name of someone who will care for them. It is important to name an executor or executors who will ensure that your will is carried out to your exact wishes.
They must be happy to accept this responsibility. For your will to be legally binding it also needs to be signed by two witnesses. These shouldn’t be people named in your will. If you have any other special requirements, they should be written in your will too.
When you need legal advice
Thinking about writing a will matters at any age, but especially when you buy your own property, get married, or start a family.
Professional legal advice could be necessary for writing your will if you have any number of complications. For example, if you have a difficult family situation, own property abroad, or have a business, itis important to contact a solicitor.
Why you shouldn’t write your own will
You do not have to use a solicitor when writing a will. But be aware that writing your own will could lead to problems.
Any legal mistakes could mean your will is invalid and your instructions may not be carried out exactly how you want. A solicitor can even be an executor of your will, allowing your family time to grieve without needing to worry about paperwork and tax issues.
Find out more in our guide, 'Writing your will: Should you do it yourself, use a solicitor or a will-writing service?'
Keeping it safe
It is important to ensure that your will is kept safe. If it can not be found, it will have no legal bearing when you are gone. There are a number of options for keeping your will secure, including leaving it with a solicitor. You can look after it yourself, but there is a risk it might get lost or damaged.