Make a Will
Making a Will allows you decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after you die.
Whilst you can write your will yourself, you should get proper legal advice from a solicitor. Using a solicitor will make sure your will is interpreted in the way you wanted.
You need to get your will formally witnessed and signed to make it valid.
If, at any point you wish to update or change your will, you need to make an official alteration called a ‘codicil’ or alternatively make a new will.
Writing your will
Your will should set out clearly the following:
- who you want to benefit from your will
- who should look after any children under 18
- who is going to sort out your estate and carry out your wishes after your death (your executor)
- what happens if the people you want to benefit die before you
When you need legal advice
You should get advice from a solicitor if your will isn’t straightforward, for example:
- you share a property with someone who isn’t your husband, wife or civil partner
- you want to leave money or property to a dependant who can’t care for themselves
- you have several family members who may make a claim on your will, eg a second spouse or children from another marriage
- your permanent home is outside the UK
- you have property overseas
- you have a business
Keep your will safe
Whilst you can keep your will at your home most people opt to keep their will with their solicitor or bank.
You should inform the executor of your will where your will is kept so that they are able to carry out your wishes following your death..
Child Arrangements Orders have replaced the old Residence and Contact Orders. If you already have one of these older orders already in place you do not need to re-apply.
Make sure your will is legal
For your will to be legally valid, you must:
- be 18 or over
- make it voluntarily
- be of sound mind
- make it in writing
- sign it in the presence of 2 witnesses who are both over 18
- have it signed by your 2 witnesses, in your presence
If you make any changes to your will you must follow the same signing and witnessing process.
Keeping your will up to date
You should consider review your will every 5 years and after any major change in your life, eg:
- getting separated or divorced
- getting married (this cancels any will you made before)
- having a child
- moving house
- if the executor named in the will dies
Making changes to your will
You won’t be able to change your will after it’s been signed and witnessed. The only way you can change a will is by making an official alteration called a codicil.
You must sign a codicil and get it witnessed in the same way as witnessing a will. There’s no limit on how many codicils you can add to a will.
Making a new will
For major changes you should make a new will. Your new will should explain that it revokes (officially cancels) all previous wills and codicils. You should destroy your old will by burning it or tearing it up.
If you would like to make a will or change an existing will please contact one of our solicitors today for further information
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