Making a Will: importance of when, why and how you should do it

If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that there’s no better time to make a will than right now. Victoria Timothy explains how you can take the f…
making a will

It’s clear that many do not consider making a Will a priority.

In fact, a 2020 Law Society survey – which took place just after the first lockdown restrictions began to ease – revealed that well over half (59%) of those surveyed said they did not have a Will.

Of course, every day life can get in the way of committing to a task such as Will making and it’s easy to push it down your to-do-list. But, if the last few years and our present climate have taught us anything, it’s that there’s no better time to make a Will then right now.

No time like the present

In my experience, it’s much easier to make a Will when you have no contemplation of dying soon as it can be an emotional process. Without that pressure, you are able to spend the time to think clearly about what you would want to happen.

If you’re worried that you may change your mind, you can always amend the Will at a later date if your circumstances change. This is done via a document called a codicil, which can make small amendments to your Will, or if necessary, you can redo it completely. We would recommend reviewing your Will every three to five years.

Why is it important to have a Will?

If you don’t have a Will, the law decides who should benefit from your assets when you pass away, and this may mean that your assets might not pass to the people you expect or want it to.

If you have a Will, your wishes are set out very clearly about who and how you would you like people to benefit from your assets, as well as protecting them for future generations. It can also help set out funeral wishes, such as who you would like to deal with your affairs after your death.

Of course, you can also decide and detail what would happen to any business you own, or any shared assets you have with another.

Making a Will: What happens if I don’t?

The intestacy provisions take effect.

This means that, for example, it may be that your spouse does not inherit your estate in its entirety, or that your spouse does inherit but your children are not protected. In which case, it’s always better to be prepared for situations like these so you can ensure your assets are directed to the right people.

How do I find the right solicitor for me?

When you decide to make a Will, contact a local solicitor to review it, as they will be able to explain the different options and decisions you need to make.

It is sensible to have a solicitor who has experience and training in Wills. Members of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) will be particularly knowledgeable, so it’s worth asking if the solicitor is a member.

Most solicitors will now meet remotely online, but if you would like to meet face to face, speak to your local law practice about making an appointment. It is also worth asking about the cost upfront but bear in mind that you may not be comparing like for like in terms of service, expertise and advice. We would suggest that you do ask a solicitor, rather than a Will writing service as they are heavily regulated.

If you found Making a Will: importance of when, why and how you should do it helpful, you’ll find more guidance on estate planning and how you can leave legacy gifts to your favourite charity in your Will on our Finance channel.

Tags: , Last modified: October 25, 2022

Written by 5:48 pm News & Views