This section asks you for important information like your name, address, date of birth, gender etc.
The interview asks for your date of birth. You must be at least 18 in order to make a valid will, unless you are on active military service. Obviously, there is no maximum age to make a will, but if the interview calculates that you are over 70 you will see a note alerting you to certain precautions you can take to demonstrate that you have the required capacity to make your will. For more information, see our page What is the legal age to make a will?
There is no difference to your will whether you are male or female. We ask this question simply so that the finished will correctly uses terms such as "his" and "her", and so on.
Sight and reading impairment
A person who is blind, unable to see or unable to read can nevertheless make a valid will, with the right assistance, and with a special clause at the end saying that the will has been read through to the testator. This question ensures that, if necessary, the correct final clause appears in the finished will. For more information see our page Drafting a will.
The interview will ask you a series of questions relating to your physical and mental well-being. The purpose of these questions is to ascertain whether there are any issues that may prevent you understanding the nature and effect of your will when you make it. Depending on your answers, we may recommend that you seek expert advice from one of our panel law firms. But we do not ask you to go into details in the interview. For more information on testamentary capacity, see our page Testamentary capacity.
Do you have any children?
The interview will ask if you have any children. That includes both biological and adopted children. It does not include stepchildren, and so you will be asked separately about them.
If any of your children are under the age of 18 you will be asked later who you would like to appoint as your children’s guardians. For more information on appointing a guardian see our page Appointing a guardian in a will.
Questions, clauses and drafting will be automatically amended to cater for whether or not you have children, and the age of those children.
You will be asked whether you have any stepchildren and, if you do, whether you would like to include them when you refer to 'children' in your will.
If you choose 'yes' to this question, stepchildren will be included in the definition of 'children' in your will.
The law generally expects that you will make reasonable provision for your family and dependants. Stepchildren are not automatically included in this, but they may well be if you have been responsible for maintaining them, or if they have formed a reasonable expectation that you will do so.
It is important to note that the definition of children will apply to any references to ‘children’ or ‘descendants’ in your will, not only to your own children (if any).
Value of your estate
When you make a will, you need to have a good idea of the size of your estate and how it is made up. You will be asked for an approximate current value of your estate (i.e. under £50,000, £50,000 to £100,000, £100,000 to £200,000 and so on). This only needs to be an estimate and you can get a figure by adding up the value of all your assets (e.g. property, savings, investments, personal possessions etc) and then deducting this from the total value of any liabilities you may have (e.g. outstanding mortgages, loans, credit card bills etc).
If you have a pension or life insurance policy, the chances are that it is set up to pay out directly to members of your family. If that is the case, it does not count as part of your estate. So you do not need to include it in the value of your estate, even though it may be a significant sum.
You will be asked to confirm that you understand the nature and extent of your estate. This means having a reasonably clear idea of your assets; it doesn’t mean knowing their value to the last penny.