Making a Will – Introduction

Overview

Your will lets you decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death.

  • If you make a will you can also make sure you don’t pay more Inheritance Tax than you need to.
  • You can write your will yourself, but you should get advice if your will isn’t straightforward.
  • You need to get your will formally witnessed and signed to make it legally valid.
  • If you want to update your will, you need to make an official alteration (called a ‘codicil’) or make a new will.
  • If you die without a will, the law says who gets what.

 

Write Your Will

Your will should set out:

  • who you want to benefit from your will
  • who should look after any children under 18
  • who is going to sort out your estate and carry out your wishes after your death (your executor)
  • what happens if the people you want to benefit die before you

 

When you Need Legal Advice

You can get advice from a professional if your will isn’t straightforward, eg:

  • you share a property with someone who isn’t your husband, wife or civil partner
  • you want to leave money or property to a dependant who can’t care for themselves
  • you have several family members who may make a claim on your will, e.g. a second spouse or children from another marriage
  • your permanent home is outside the UK
  • you have property overseas
  • you have a business

 

Keep your Will Safe

You can keep your will at your home or store it with:

  • your solicitor
  • your bank

Read full guidance on storing your will with the Probate Service (leaflet PA7) .

You should tell your executor (the person you’ve chosen to carry out your will), close friend or relative where your will is.

Making a Will Part 2 – Legality and updating your will