Before you pass away, you will want to have your affairs in order and make your passing as easy as possible on your loved ones. With a will, you can have full control over what happens to everything that you own. Whether it is a million pounds or simply a sentimental gift, a will lets your executor know exactly where it's going.
Can you write your own will? ✔️
Absolutely, you don’t need anyone else to write your will for you. However, there are situations when it’s advised to get some professional help. At Bequest, we have a simple and straightforward online platform that takes you through the flow with ease. Then each and every will is looked at by our partners at JPEP.
If you are writing and signing your will by yourself, there are a few steps you need to take in order for your will to be legally binding. Make sure you do your research.
What you need to cover ☂️
There are a few key things that your will should include.
Beneficiaries – You should make it clear who you want to benefit from your will. If this is money, then this includes specifying exact amounts. If you're leaving property to children, for example, then specific percentages of ownership should also be detailed.
Guardians – If you have children under the age of 18, it should be made clear who is to look after them. This will often be their surviving parent but if that’s not possible, you should specify who should be their guardian.
Executor – Your will needs to have an executor. This will be the person who deals with the estate and will carry out your wishes.
Is your will complicated? 🤔
There are going to be a few occasions where your will may be a little more complicated. Then this is one of the times that it might be best to get the help of an expert to write it for you. They will be able to help you navigate through any legal issues and to overcome any complications.
This includes the likes of sharing a property with someone who isn’t your partner, leaving money to someone that can't care for themselves, or if there are disputed assets. There can also be added difficulties if you have property overseas or have a business.
There are solicitors that specialise in will writing and there are also professional will writers who aren’t regulated but are well versed in the legal requirements around a will.
Will writing tips ✍️
If you decide to write your own will, then you need to do it with care and it’s best to follow some basic tips.
Make it valid – As mentioned earlier, you need to ensure your will is witnessed and signed correctly. Do your research!
Proofread – You don’t want to make any mistakes in your will that could be misinterpreted. This is especially important with monetary amounts, percentages and names.
Be clear – A lack of clarity can be a big issue. Saying that you’re leaving “your car” to your son may seem clear, but if you get a second car after writing the will, then this suddenly becomes unclear. Be specific with assets and names. Describe exactly what they are.
Invalidate old wills – When situations change, you can either amend a will or write a new one. Whichever it is, make sure you clearly stipulate that your previous will is now invalid.
Make it known – A will can feel like a private thing to write but you need to make people aware that you have made one. Specifically, you should tell the executor of the will where it can be found.
Storing your will 🗄️
You don’t want the only copy of your will locked away in a secret cupboard. Using a solicitor can be a good idea as they’ll be able to store a copy for you. Aside from that, there are companies that store wills and also your bank may offer the service. You can keep it in your home but it’s important that you let the executor know where it is so that they can follow your requests.
It’s also a good idea to have more than one copy to ensure there are no problems once you’ve passed away. And if it was created with us, you can even have us store it securely for you! 💻
For most people, a will won’t be a complicated document. However, if you do have questions, let us know! We are happy to help and direct you to our various professional partners if necessary.