Making a will is important, as it clarifies what will happen to your money and assets in the event of your death. While it is possible to get a template online and make your own, the danger is that even a slightly wrong wording can result in a will being contested, which is why it is recommended you check to make sure that your will is legal.
Who can make a will?
In order to make a will, you have to be over the age of 18, make it for yourself while declaring you are of sound mind. It has to be made in writing, as well as being in front of two witnesses (who must be over the age of 18 and neither the witnesses or the married partners of those witnesses are allowed to be named in the will.)
How to write it
A will should specify who will financially benefit from it, who will be looking after your children (if they are under 18), who is the executor of the will (the person who carries out the instructions in the will) and who will benefit if someone named in the will dies before you.
You may need legal advice if you share a property with someone who isn’t your partner, you want to leave money for someone who can’t look after themselves, you have previous partners or dependents from another marriage, you run your own business or if you live outside the UK and/or own any form of property overseas.
Protecting your will
There are different options in order to keep your will protected- you could store it in a fireproof safe, keep a copy with your chosen legal representative or keep it with a company that specialises in storage for legal forms.
Updating your will
It is recommended that you review and (if necessary) update your will at least once every five years. This could be relevant if you gain a major asset or if you inherit something yourself that you would wish to pass on. It is also relevant if you get married, divorced, have a child or if you move house.
In the event of your chosen executor dying, it will be necessary to update in order to choose a new executor to carry out the terms in your will.
However, you cannot immediately update a will if it has been signed and witnessed. This has to be done officially (known as a codicil). There is no limit to how many times you can do this, but any amendments need to be signed and witnessed in the same way as the original document.
We can help
Disputes regarding wills can, unfortunately, happen. This is why it is strongly recommended that you use a firm that recognises the importance of the right legal wording to make a document clear and as legally binding as possible. For more information on how we can help, please contact our legal specialists today.