You should always seek full and proper advice from legal professionals before making a Will.
To assist your legal advisors with preparing a Will which accurately reflects your wishes and accommodates your individual circumstances, you should consider the following points in advance of your appointment:
- Decide who you trust to carry out all your wishes and deal with your estate according to the terms of your Will. You may want to ask those persons if they feel comfortable taking on the role. Make sure you have the full and correct names and addresses of those people.
- Make a list of what will comprise your estate – your assets and any significant debts or liabilities. Make a particular note of any foreign or business assets.
- Be honest about your family circumstances, for example if there are stepchildren, adopted children or family members that are estranged from you. Also, consider if there might be matters arising within the family such as divorce, disability, addiction or generally ill-feeling or tensions amongst family members.
- Consider what you want people to receive under your Will – a share of your estate or any specific items or set sums of money? List all the people you would like to benefit under your Will and again, make sure you have the full and correct names (and addresses too, if possible) of those people.
- If gifting personal items, such as an engagement ring or family heirloom, consider a letter of wishes to accompany your Will that can be amended or updated as frequently as you want without having to change your Will.
- Give some thought to your funeral wishes which can be included in your Will but ought to be discussed with family or friends as well.
- If you have young children you can express a wish in your Will as to whom you want to look after them. This will not be legally binding but will give the Court an indication of your preference.
- If you have pets you may want to express a wish as to how they are to be cared for.
- Be prepared to be flexible and open-minded as to how your Wills are drafted. There may be circumstances or potential future events that you have not considered.
Once you have signed your Will, keep a copy of it in a safe place, Churchers can store your Will for free securely, and tell people you trust where it can be found when the time comes.
If you need any further advice on making a Will please contact a member of our Wills and Probate team