Making your will is one of the most important things you can do to protect your family and loved ones. If you do not set out how you would like your assets to be distributed after your death, your estate will be dealt with under the rules of intestacy, which may not reflect your wishes.
You may already have a trusted solicitor you intend to approach. If not, consider seeking recommendations from friends and family. You can also visit the Law Society website for a list of all firms in the UK, which is searchable by issue (e.g. Wills and probate) and location.
Alternatively, take a look at The Goodwill Partnership for more information about their home visit solicitor-provided wills.
Some solicitors will meet with you face to face to obtain the information they need to write your will. Others will ask you to complete a questionnaire in advance of a meeting. In both cases, you will need to:
- Calculate the value of your estate
- Choose your beneficiaries – these can be anyone: your partner, children, other family members, friends and, of course, any charities you would like to support. You will need their names and addresses, as well as the registered charity number of any charitable beneficiaries.
- Decide on the nature of the bequests you would like to leave: pecuniary (stated sums of money); residuary (a % share of your estate after all other bequests, debts and expenses have been paid); specific (particular items e.g. jewellery, furniture etc)
- If you have children under the age of 18, think about who you would want to have guardianship of them.
- Choose two people to act as executors of your will. Solicitors are able to act as executors for a fee, but you can also select friends or family members whom you trust.
The solicitor will draft your will based on the information you provide, and you will have the opportunity to check that it is accurate, before signing it in the presence of witnesses. You will then need to ensure that the will is stored in a safe place, and that your executors know its location. Solicitors will store your will for you for a fee, as will some banks. Alternatively, you can store it in a secure location at home.
Please note that Retina UK does not endorse any particular firm or firms. We recommend that you conduct your own research to identify the solicitor or provider who best meets your requirements.