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How do I write a valid Will?

Posted on 29th March 2017 in Probate & Wills

Posted by

Gráinne Staunton

Partner and Solicitor
How do I write a valid Will?

There are certain legal stipulations that apply when making a Will and these need to be adhered to in order for your Will to be valid under UK law:

  • You need to be 18 or over
  • You write it as an act of free will
  • You are of sound mind
  • Your Will is made in writing
  • It is signed in the presence of 2 witnesses who are both over 18
  • The 2 witnesses are in your presence when they sign it

It is to be noted that your two witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of your Will and neither can their married partners.

Information your Will should contain:

  • The name(s) of people or organizations that you wish to benefit
  • The person(s) you wish to take care of your children (if they are under the age of 18 when you die)
  • The name of your executor – they will be responsible for carrying out your wishes in relation to your estate
  • How your wishes may change if your beneficiaries die before you

The law relating to the interpretation and application of Wills is complex.  To ensure that your Will records your wishes effectively and operates in the way you intend you should seek assistance from a professional trained in the preparation of Wills. 

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is global professional association for practitioners who specialize in family inheritance and succession planning.  Why not use a STEP member to help you with your Will?  The membership list can be found here: http://www.step.org/member-directory.

How to keep your Will safe:

  • Assign a solicitor to take care of it
  • Ask your bank to hold your Will
  • Find a company that offers the storage of wills

Informing people about your Will:

You will need to tell your executor that you have made a Will. You may also want to tell close friends or relatives where your Will is kept.

Possible complications to consider:

  • You are living with someone who isn’t your husband, wife or civil partner
  • You would like your Will to benefit a dependent who can’t care for themselves
  • People who may make a claim on your will
  • Having a permanent residence outside the UK
  • Owning property overseas
  • Owning your own business

It is advisable to seek legal advice in relation to these complications.

Reasons you may wish to update your Will:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Adoption or new grandchild
  • Your children have reached adulthood
  • The circumstances of your beneficiaries, executor, guardians or trustees have changed
  • Somebody named in your Will dies
  • Your financial situation has significantly changed
  • You have decided to make provisions in your Will for a charity or non-profit organisation
  • There has been a change in tax laws in the UK
  • You have moved out of the country
  • It has been three years or more since you have reviewed your will

For further advice and information about making your Will contact our experts on 01392 207020 or email enquiries@tozers.co.uk

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