What is a Will?
A will is a legal document where you set out what you wish to happen to your money, property and possessions once you pass away.
It also ensures that you don’t need to pay more inheritance tax than legally required and it’s important to remember that if you do not make a will, then the decisions over how your assets are to be divided pass to the government and the courts when you die.
To make a will under English law you need to be over 18, make it voluntarily, make it as a person of sound mind, do so in writing, sign it in the presence of two witnesses, who also need to sign it in front of you.
How to Write a Will in England
According to English law, there are several steps you need to take to ensure a will is legally valid. You can write your own will, however the weight of the legality issues at play means that it is far more effective to employ the services of a legal team who specialise in this area of law, such as Prestige Tax and Trust Services.
To write your will you need to include: who benefits from it, who should be entrusted as a legal guardian to any children under 18, who your executor is (the person trusted to sort your estate and carry out your wishes once you pass) and what you wish to happen should your will’s beneficiaries die before you.
At this stage there are several issues for which you will need legal advice: if you share property with a person who isn’t you husband, wife or civil partner, you want to name a beneficiary who can’t care for themselves, you have several family members who may be able to claim from your will, you don’t have a permanent home in the UK or are a resident but have overseas properties, and if you have a business.
After the Will Has Been Written
From there you need to sign it in front of two witnesses and have them sign it in front of you; they must be over the age of 18. Remember that only people who you have not left anything to can stand as a witness.
After this, your will becomes legal and you need to store it safely; with your solicitor is the best option, as well as tell your executor where it is. From here, remember that your will should be updated every five years or after any major changes in your life (i.e. divorce). Remember that you can’t amend your will after witnessing and signing, except by making an official declaration called a codicil, which must be signed and witnessed in the same way a will is.
Choose Prestige Tax and Trust Services to Make Your Will
The complexities of this area of law usually demand specialist legal services and you’ll find no firm more versed in English will law than Prestige Tax and Trust Services, the honest, straight forward legal advice service who are here to provide you and your family with peace of mind, should the worst happen.