Choose an executor
It is wise to have at least two executors in case one of them is unable to perform their duties for any reason. An executor is important because they will be the person(s) carrying out your wishes as outlined in your Will. For this reason executors should be people you trust. You can ask a solicitor to act as your executor.
Updating a Will
Even if you already have a Will, you may want to review it if it was made some time ago. If your circumstances have changed, for example, if you got married or if a grandchild has been born since you made your Will, it may be inadequate.
You can make amendments using a document called a codicil. Like the original will, apart from a list of amendments, the codicil will have to be signed by you and two other independent witnesses (they don't have to be the same witnesses as in your original will). A codicil can be a complex document so you might want to seek legal advice before writing one.
Signing and storing a Will
To be valid, a will must be signed by the person making the Will in the presence of two independent witnesses who also sign in his/her presence. There are a number of rules about signing a Will, including that witnesses cannot benefit from a Will and nor can their married partners. Often the staff at a solicitors office will act as witnesses of the Will if they have prepared it.
Once a Will is signed it must be kept in a safe place and you should tell someone you trust where it is. Sometimes Wills are stored at a solicitor's office in a safe.
How much does it cost to make a Will
Wills can cost anywhere between £200 - 1000 depending on the complexity of your affairs. If you don't already have a solicitor in mind, it's a good idea to research Will writing costs. If you don't already have a solicitor in mind, it's a good idea to research Will writing costs. There are a number of charities that provide a Will writing service for free, but because Will writing is time consuming and usually expensive, you might want to make a donation.
Gifts and inheritance tax
As of 2015, if your estate (everything you own) is valued over £325,000, a percentage may have to go to the government in the form of inheritance tax. Any amount over £325,000 is taxable at a rate of 40%. Generally, assets left to spouses or civil partners are exempt from inheritance tax, as are gifts to charity.
Page last reviewed: 12/2015
Next review date: 12/2018