Will Writing Explained
Will writing is often perceived as a dreary subject and one we associate with getting older, but this is truly not the case.
Join us as we take a look at a more contemporary approach to writing a Will, what this involves and how and when you should consider writing one.
Get in touch for a free, no-obligation chat with an adviser about how we might be able to help you.
A Will is a legal document that you can prepare in your lifetime, which sets out your instructions for what should happen after you die.
It mainly deals with the distribution of your estate, which essentially means your money, your property, any personal belongings, and any assets that you own. You can also set out who would look after your children or your pets, as well as documenting your preferences about funeral wishes.
Everyone over the age of 18 should have a Will. Nobody can predict the future, so the sooner the better.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that a Will is only for the older generation or the rich and this is not the case at all. Making a Will is in the best interest of your loved ones, even if you’ve only got a small amount of money or very few assets, someone will still have to distribute those when you’re gone.
- Owns significant assets such as property
- Owns a business
- Has big savings & investments
- Has young children
You should also think about updating, or making a Will if there are any material changes in your circumstances. For example:
- Buying a house
- Getting married
- Getting divorced
- The birth of a child
- If you receive an inheritance from a family member or a close friend.
These are really important examples of trigger points to review your planning. Many people are put off by making a Will because it seems so final. People perhaps often struggle to make decisions, especially when trying to think about a million different scenarios that might happen over the next 20 years.
You can and you should update your Will over time. We recommend every three to five years to effect any changes. For example, the Will that you prepare at age 20 doesn’t necessarily have to be set in concrete by the time you’re 70; it’s a work in progress.
If you don’t have a Will, then your estate, whatever you own, is shared out according to certain rules determined by law. These are called the rules of intestacy. This means the law decides what happens.
This means anyone can enter the market and offer the service. Historically, that’s meant in the past, there have been people out there who have given the industry a bad name. This is in terms of unqualified advisors pushing sales on trusts.
There are so many reasons to have a Will. The main one is that it makes distributing your assets after you have gone much easier.
This is your choice but it’s worth remembering there is no such thing as an electronic Will or an electronic signature. These are not valid. The only valid Will is the paper document that’s been validly signed by you and your witnesses in pen.
If you do prefer to store your Will yourself, then by all means you can. It must be kept somewhere safe, ideally somewhere waterproof, and fireproof. If it’s destroyed, there is no replacement.
It needs to be somewhere safe and somewhere your executors will know where to find it so they can carry out the duties in terms of the Will. A much safer option would be to store your Will in a dedicated facility so that it can be easily located when you die. More importantly, there’s no chance that it could be accidentally lost or damaged or even tampered with or destroyed, whether it’s deliberate or unintentional.
Most Will writers offer storage options for a small annual fee, which gives you some additional peace of mind. You’ve invested time and money into making a Will, so you want to make sure that it’s somewhere safe for when the time comes.
The cost varies from provider to provider, and it depends on how simple or complex your requirements are.
As a general indication, the starting price for a basic, single Will from a qualified writer or reputable firm is in the region of anything between £150 to £300. The more complex the Will, the higher the fee.
Most Will writers will work on a fixed fee basis. Usually, the process would be to arrange an appointment to understand your circumstances and your requirements. To be able to give you a more accurate quote for the work that needs to be carried out.
Some people think writing a Will is expensive, but it’s about looking at it from the right perspective. A Will is an investment for not just your future, but for your family’s future. As a general approach in life, we have car insurance, home insurance, pet insurance. We even insure our phones. A Will is a form of insurance for your loved ones.
If you do not have a professionally drafted Will, the financial cost to your family to sort everything out after you’ve gone is going to be much greater. This is not just in terms of money, but the additional stress and pressure at an already difficult time.
You’ve just lost someone. You’re grieving, and now you’re having to sort out all of this paperwork, engage with solicitors, and go to court. It’s better to make the right investment now while you can because you can save yourself a whole lot more in the future.
As mentioned previously, it’s really important to use a qualified and experienced Will writing service. Make sure that they’re recognised by one of these self-regulatory bodies within the industry.
It’s our job as Will writers to understand you and your situation, both personally and financially, so we can provide you with the best possible advice. Any reputable Will writer will usually arrange an appointment first, to talk through your family, your finances, your wishes, and then we’ll discuss with you any implications or solutions based on individual circumstances.
More often than not, you might need some time after that initial appointment to think about how you would like to move forward. Quite often a discussion can bring up some points that you may not have considered. We support you as much as we can each step of the way, with the ultimate goal being a legally valid Will that accurately reflects your wishes.
You can write your own Will, but it is one of the most important legal documents you’re ever going to need.
You must seek advice from an experienced and qualified professional. Make sure your Will is drafted properly and accurately to reflect your wishes and signed on witness correctly.
It’s still a legal document. As with most legal activities, the rules surrounding Wills are complex. If there are any errors or if the Will is invalid for any reason, then this could have huge consequences after your death, and result in costly court proceedings.
There are many legal documents you wouldn’t even attempt to write on your own. So why risk writing your own Will? Professionals exist for a reason, don’t take the risk. The consequences are just not worth it.
- A Will is not just for the elder generation and rich.
- You should make changes to your Will overtime
- Having a Will can make a huge difference to you and your loved ones’ life.
- You will save time and money in the long run.
If this has raised concerns or you require any help or advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We have a contact form, and a direct link to book a free telephone consultation, and we are here to help and answer any questions that you may have.
Get in Touch with your expert, Claire
We offer expert advice and guidance every step of the way to ensure that your Will accurately reflects your needs to give you peace of mind that your estate will be distributed as you wish.