Understanding the Importance of a Will
A will is not just a document, it’s a way to ensure your wishes are carried out after your death. It details who will receive your assets, including property, savings and personal possessions. If you have children, the will should specify who will care for them if you pass away whilst they’re still minors.
Creating a will also lets you choose executors who will carry out these wishes, often a close friend, a family member, or a professional service. Without a valid will, the intestacy laws decide these matters, potentially not aligning with your wishes.
In most cases, a will can also help to minimise inheritance tax, ensuring your beneficiaries receive the maximum benefit. A will also provides clarity and peace of mind for your family members, typically preventing disputes over your estate, and ensuring your loved ones are provided for as you intended.
How much does it cost to make a will?
According to the Office of National Statistics, the average UK household holds assets of £302,500, highlighting the necessity of making a will. Remember that the cost of writing a will can vary, depending on the complexity of your estate and whether you choose to use professional services. If you choose not to engage professional services, you can buy a will-writing kit online or from stationery shops for as little as £10.
For more support, consider using a will-writing service. Prices for these services can start at around £80. Alternatively, more complex issues, involving things like overseas property or trusts, can rise to several hundred pounds.
Solicitors are typically more expensive, with the cost of making a will with a solicitor starting from around £150. The price can increase to over £1,000 for more complicated estates. Different solicitors will offer different prices, so it’s worth doing research before settling on a certain one. Often people worry about making a will without a solicitor, so remember that in most cases, it is typically not necessary to use a solicitor.
If cost is a concern, some charities offer free will-writing services in the hope that you’ll leave them a legacy in your will, offering a cost-effective way to ensure your will is legally valid.
How to Make a Will
The first step in making a will is deciding who will inherit your estate, which includes all your assets, like property, bank accounts, and personal possessions. You also need to choose who will look after any children under 18 and nominate your executors.
Next, you may want to consider using a solicitor or a professional will writer to help create your will, ensuring that your will is legally valid and that all your wishes are clearly stated. Whilst you can also write your own will, you must make sure it’s signed and witnessed correctly.
Major changes in your life, like moving house, getting married, or having a child, often mean you need to make a new will. Marriage, for example, usually cancels out any previously made wills. Therefore, it is important to set a reminder to review your will every 2-3 years.
It’s also important to keep your will in a safe place, but make sure that your executor needs to know where it is. You could keep it at home, with a solicitor, at a bank, or with a company that offers the storage of wills.