Why you should make a will

Money Advice Service

Your will tells everyone what should happen to your money, possessions and property after you die (all these things together are called your ‘estate’). If you don’t leave a will, the law decides how your estate is passed on – and this might not be in line with your wishes.

Four reasons why you need a will

Don’t delay

It’s easy to make a will – and it will save your family unnecessary distress at an already difficult time.

  1. A will makes it much easier for your family or friends to sort everything out when you die – without a will the process can be more time consuming and stressful.
  2. If you don’t write a will, everything you own will be shared out in a standard way defined by the law – which isn’t always the way you might want.
  3. A will can help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that might be payable on the value of the property and money you leave behind.
  4. Writing a will is especially important if you have children or other family who depend on you financially, or if you want to leave something to people outside your immediate family.

Your wishes and who carries them out

Your will tells people two very important things:

  • Who should have your money, property and possessions when you die.
  • Who will be in charge of organising your estate and following the instructions you leave in your will – this person is called your ‘executor’, and you can name more than one person if you want to.

You can also use your will to tell people about any other wishes you have, like instructions for your burial or cremation.

Your executor will do their best to make sure your wishes are followed, as long as they don’t involve breaking the law.

It might not always be possible for your executors to carry out your instructions.

For example, a person you want to leave something to might die before you do, but if you have a will there’s a better chance of things happening the way you want.

Read our guide on Choosing your executor

Make sure your will is legally valid

Your will doesn’t have to be on special paper or use a lot of legal language.

A document is a valid will as long as it:

  • Says how your estate should be shared out when you die.
  • Was made when you were able to make your own decisions and you weren’t put under pressure about who to leave things to.
  • Is signed and dated by you in the presence of two adult, independent witnesses, and then signed by the two witnesses in your presence – the witnesses can’t be people who are going to inherit anything from you (or their husband/wife or civil partner.

How to start making a will

If your family is small and you want to leave everything to them, making your will is fairly straightforward.

If your situation is more complicated – for example, if you have a second family or you want to leave money and gifts to lots of people – you’ll need to plan more carefully.

Either way, don’t put it off – make sure that what you leave behind will go to the people you intended.

Step 1 – Make a plan

Start by thinking about what you want to leave to whom and then talk to your family – they might have some suggestions you haven’t thought of.

Once you have a plan look at the different options for making a will.

Step 2 – Get your will written

There are a number of ways you can get a will written.

The best option for you depends on how complicated your wishes are:

  • a simple will – can cost between £144 and £240
  • a complex will – can cost between £150 and £300. It may be more complex as you have been divorced and have children
  • a specialist will – that involves trusts or oversea properties, or you want tax planning advice – expect to pay a minimum of £500 to £600 according to Which?

  • you can buy a template document in stationery shops for as little as £10.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

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Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
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A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

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