What is a Will and why it matters

Your Will is an important document. It describes what you would like to happen to your Estate following your death, and would normally cover bank accounts, investments, your home and your personal possessions as well as setting out your funeral wishes.

A Will makes sorting out your affairs easier and clearer for your family.

Probate applicationA valid Will details your wishes after death

Ostrich approach

Many people die without having made a Will, either because they don’t want to think about it, or because they think it’s not important for them. Some people assume that everything will happen as they wish it to, because their family knows what they want.

But the 'ostrich approach' doesn't always work because , without a Will in place, it is actually the government that decides who inherits your Estate, based on a strict 'pecking order' of relatives.

What a Will does

A Will allows you to set out very clearly exactly what you want and can make dealing with your affairs much easier for your family. Having the right Will  means that:

  • Your Estate will be left to whoever you wish
  • You can ensure your wishes are carried out
  • You can ensure your Will is tax efficient
  • If you have children, you can specify who you want as their guardian
  • If you are not married/ in a civil partnership, you can ensure your partner benefits from your Estate as ‘common law’ partners have no automatic rights like spouses
  • You can specify who you want to administer your Estate
  • After your death the administration of your Estate is easier to deal with.

There are various types of Wills available and choosing the right type of Will for you is imperative to ensure your wishes are fully carried out.

Making a Will

There are several methods you can use to write a Will from the do-it-yourself packs purchased from shops, online documents or by using a solicitor. All methods are legally binding, as long as the instructions for signing are followed carefully - an unsigned Will is invalid.

Points to consider when making a Will

  • Who you want to deal with everything following your death  - these are the executors
  • Who you'd like to look after any children you have - legal guardians 
  • Any gifts or legacies you wish to make 
  • What you'd like to happen to the rest of your Estate  - the Residuary Estate
  • Set out your funeral wishes but these aren't binding so it's important that you speak to your executors  


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