A Will is a legal document detailing how you would like your money, belongings and property to be distributed at the time of your death. Unless you have a legally binding Will in place there is no guarantee that your assets will be shared out how you would like.
Whilst it can be appealing to write your own Will, it is easy to make mistakes when drafting, signing and witnessing a Will, which could mean that the Will is invalid. It is important that you seek legal advice when you are writing a Will, especially if there are any complexities. For example, if you have any properties outside the UK, if you own a property with someone who is not your spouse, if you have a business, if you would like to set up a trust, or if you would like to include specific wishes in the will, such as the proposed guardians for your children.
If your Will is straightforward then it is likely that you will only need two appointments with a Solicitor (if you find it difficult to come to the office, we can arrange a home visit instead). If you have more complicated arrangements, then you may need more.
There are four main steps when writing a Will:
The Solicitor will take your information, including:
– Key details, such as your name, address, dates of birth, children’s names and dates of birth;
– Information about your property, assets and belongings and how you would like these shared;
– Any special requests or requirements; such as whether you would like to appoint a guardian for your children, and if you would like to leave anything in trust for your children;
– Details of any businesses and what you would like to happen to these businesses;
– What you would like to happen if the people you would like to benefit die before you do;
– Whether you would like your assets to pass to your spouse upon your death or distributed at that point;
– Details of special items such as jewelry or artwork that you would like to pass family members or friends;
– Any charity donations you would like to make;
– Who would you like to be the Executor of the will and carry out these wishes after your death.
The solicitor will then draft the Will and will send you a copy along with an explanation of the terms of your Will. You can then discuss any changes with the Solicitor and ask the Solicitor to clarify anything you are not sure about.
You can either sign your Will at your Solicitors office (two witnesses will be provided by the Solicitors firm) or you can choose to have your Will sent to you at home to sign there. If you choose to sign your Will at home, you will need to organise your own witnesses. If you are unable to attend the office, then your Solicitor can arrange to visit you at home to sign your Will. In these circumstances you will just need to arrange for a friend or neighbour to attend to be your second witness.
Once your Will has been correctly signed and dated it needs to be kept in a secure location. Hepburn Delaney do not charge to store Wills in their safe. A copy Will can be provided for you to keep at home. If you prefer, you can store your original Will at home, but we do not recommend this.
Hepburn Delaney have a specialist Wills and Probate department. Get in touch to talk through your requirements; we are here to help.