How do I go about writing my will?

16 April 2012

Q

I need to write a will but I do not know how to start the process. What rules do I need to be aware of and how do I go about writing one?
From
DDS/London

A

Writing an accurate and legally sound will is very important as it means you can determine what happens to your money and possessions after your death. It can also make it easier for those who have to deal with your affairs – your executors – as they are guided by your written wishes.

There may also be legal and tax implications that have to be addressed. In particular, depending on the size of your estate, a properly written will can help to reduce inheritance tax.

You could draw up the will yourself, using forms available from good stationers, or you could consult one of the many will-writing companies, preferably one that is a member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters (ipw.org.uk). But given the importance of this document, I still think it is best to consult a solicitor.

It may cost a little more, but at least you can discuss your requirements face to face. If you don't know any in the area, try asking a local funeral director for a recommendation as it should know which firms are efficient at processing wills after a death.

The requirements of writing a valid will:

  • It must be in writing
  • It must be signed and witnessed by two individuals aged over 18, who do not stand to gain from the will
  • You must be over 18 when writing it
  • You must have the mental capacity to make the will and understand its implications
  • You must not have made it as a result of pressure from someone else
  • It must start by stating that 'this will revokes all others'.