Making a will - everything you need to know
Our interview will help you through the steps you need to take when choosing Bequeathed to make your will. But even before we start there are several things to think about. A good first step is to look through our Preparing a will page, which sets out some of the most important things for you to consider before starting your will. You’ll see that there’s a lot more that you can do with your will than simply deciding who will inherit your savings. Even if you’re not intending to appoint guardians for your children, or create trusts to protect your assets into the future, it is definitely worth considering the options you have available.
Our Estate value page helps you understand the total value of the assets you can include in your will. This doesn’t just include the assets you own at the time of your death, but also those caught by the Seven-year rule – gifts made in the last seven years before your death.
For many of your assets, calculating their value may be straightforward. However, for any property or valuable personal possession you own you may need to obtain a professional valuation. You can find more advice in our Value of assets, property and personal possessions page.
Our Will checklist - information you need to hand page will help make sure that you have everything you need to go through our interview.
What to include?
At some point you need to work out who you would like to benefit from your estate. Our Beneficiaries page will talk you through who can benefit from a will, as well as explaining the safeguards you should consider in case a gift fails for any reason.
Should you think about using a Letter of wishes alongside your will? A letter of wishes is a useful way to communicate your wishes to your family and executors about how you want things to be managed. It can be used for setting out funeral wishes, give lots of personal gifts, or set out your preferences for your children’s upbringing.
Making a will
Once you’ve decided what to include in your will, and who you would like to benefit, it's time to get started. Using our online interview is very straightforward for you to use on your own. But if you are taking the perfectly natural step of asking a relative or friend to help you, take a look at our Drafting a will page, where we mention a couple of points that you should bear in mind. As we explain, it’s very important that you know and approve the contents of your will.
Remember that getting a draft of your will does not make it a legal document. Before it comes into effect you must have it signed and witnessed. It’s essential to be aware of the legal requirements, especially Who can witness a will?, as a mistake can leave your will open to being challenged, or invalid from the start. Our page Signing a will – getting it right will help you to ensure that your will is signed correctly, and less likely to be challenged after your death.
Select an article:
Witnessing wills and social distancing
Top tips for having your will witnessed if you are in enforced isolation during the Covid 19 outbreak
Preparing a will
Properly preparing to make a will helps ensure the final document accurately represents your wishes
Will checklist - information you need to hand to make your will
Our downloadable will checklist makes taking our interview is as easy as possible
Estate value - why it is important
The value of your estate helps you to decide how to share your property and reduce tax
Value of assets, property and personal possessions
Valuing your assets, property and personal possessions early can have advantages for you and your executors
Letter of wishes
A letter of wishes is a guide to help your executors administer your estate
Beneficiary - who would you like to benefit from your estate?
Choose the people and organisations you want to be your beneficiaries, and how they are to receive their gift.
Joint property ownership - when does it form part of your estate?
Joint property ownership is an important factor in how your property will pass under your will
Drafting a will
As a will can be drafted in several different ways it is important to feel comfortable with your choice
Knowing and approving the contents of your will
You need to know what is in your will for it to be valid
What happens to your pension if you die?
Your pension may form part of your estate, but there are important exceptions and inheritance tax implications
What happens to debt when you die?
When you die, your debts or liabilities are usually deducted from your estate
Seven-year rule - gifts made in the last seven years
Inheritance tax may be due on gifts you make in the years before your death
Digital assets and estate planning
Digital assets have a complicated legal status and you need to plan for that
A holographic (handwritten) will may be quick but the risks outweigh the benefits
A deathbed will can be created hastily, but there is a risk of uncertainty and legal challenge
Signing a will - getting it right
Take care to signing your will correctly
Who can witness a will?
Anyone can witness a will provided they are at least 18 and independent of the person making the will
Video witnessing of your will
A will can be witnessed by a video link, but to be on the safe side use a solicitor
To store a will effectively it must be safe, undamaged, and easily accessible to your executors