Making a Will - Will drafting solicitors

Our specialist Will writing solicitors have extensive experience in preparing Wills to cover all circumstances, with Wills available online from £72 or from £149 if you'd like to come in and see us. For more information or to arrange an appointment please contact us on 0203 837 3658 for a no obligation initial chat with one of our advisors. Evening and Saturday appointments are available in some locations, contact us for more information.

There are many different reasons to make a Will: to save Inheritance Tax, to appoint a guardian for a young child, to sort out funeral arrangements or to set out your intentions if you think family members may not agree.

Whether you have a complex estate well over the Inheritance Tax threshold (currently £325,000) or whether you simply want to make sure certain belongings go to certain people, we can make a Will to suit you.

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Why should I make a Will?

Ask yourself the following:

Do I expect my spouse to inherit all my property?

Do I want to make special provision for children, grandchildren and friends?

If I have young children would I feel safer appointing a legal guardian in case something happens to me?

Would I like advice to minimise Inheritance Tax so that my family benefit and not the tax man?

Wouldn't I want to appoint someone I know and trust to ensure my wishes are respected?

If you answer "yes" to any of these then you need a properly drafted Will.

What should I include in my Will?

You can choose who carries out your wishes (your Executors). You can set out whom you wish to benefit from your estate and in what proportions. A Will can allow you to set up a fund to benefit people long after you have passed away (a trust). You can benefit charities if you want. A Will provides certainty as to what is to happen to you and can give guidance to your views on organ donation. This can be of much help to relatives at a difficult time.

Can anyone challenge my Will?

A Will is your wish. There is no point doing one if people can simply change it after you've gone. Sometimes people may try to challenge or "contest" a Will. People may argue that someone did not understand what they were doing when they made their Will or that they were pushed into it. Sometimes a person may have been left out of a Will (by accident or on purpose) when that person was reliant on the person who has died for money and financial support. In these circumstances the law can allow certain people to try to claim from an estate. It is very important therefore that you take legal advice when doing a Will. With vast experience in Will drafting and estate administration, we can help you avoid possible pitfalls.

How often do I need to change my Will?

It is advisable to review your Will generally every five or six years. There may be many reasons though which mean you should review your Will. You may have married since you made your last Will (in which case your Will may actually have been revoked) or you may be divorcing or separating. You may have children or more children or grandchildren now and want to include them in your Will. Your wealth may have gone up and Inheritance Tax could affect you now. Has the value of your house gone up in the last five or six years? If you need to alter your Will you should seek legal advice. We can recommend whether you need a new Will or simply a Codicil. You should not attempt to alter your own existing Will or attach anything to it. This could cause your Will to be void or give many problems to your Executors.

Can I write my own Will?

You can try, but many of the problems encountered with Wills often come from "home-made" Wills. The Probate Registry will usually have to approve the Will before your estate can be collected in. Incomplete signatures, not enough witnesses, pages missing, no date, wrong names, ineffective gifts and not revoking an earlier Will are a few examples of things which can go wrong if you have not sought legal advice for the preparation of your Will.

Solicitors for the Elderly - Accredited

  • Will Writing - Why should I make a Will?

    Are you thinking about making a Will? This brief guide highlights the importance of making a Will as well as covering what happens if you don't have a Will and the risks associated with making a homemade Will.
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Amending a Will  - When you can do so with a codicil

If the majority of the Will is to remain the same, it may be possible to make adjustments by adding a codicil.  A codicil is an additional page added to the original Will and will note the amendments required to this.  For a codicil to be legally binding it needs to be signed and witnessed in the same way as the original Will. You can add multiple codicils to a Will but in some instances a new Will is required. Codicils are only meant to be used for simple amendments. The witnesses to the codicil can differ to the original Witnesses on the Will.

Codicils are appropriate in 2 main circumstances:

  1. To specify to whom an asset should be left, or to add a clause where something or someone has been forgotten
  2. Or to replace an existing clause and replacing it with a new one for instance a change of executor

It is advisable to let your executor(s) know that you have made a codicil, and tell them where it is stored.  Your codicil needs to be attached to and stored with your original Will.

Below is a checklist of when a codicil can be made:

  • Increasing or decreasing a gift to a beneficiary
  • Appointing a different executor
  • Appointing a new Trustee
  • Changing a testamentary guardian
  • Replacing a beneficiary if they have predeceased you  
  • Changing funeral plans

A new Will would be required if:

  • A trust is to be created
  • You want to remove a beneficiary from your Will
  • You want to change the main beneficiary of your Will

This is not an exhaustive list and there are other circumstances and considerations when considering which option is most appropriate. Call us on 0203 837 3658 if you would like to confirm whether you require a new Will or can amend an existing Will. 

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I lost my best friend and Stephensons helped me through this very tough period of being the executor. I found them to be extremely helpful and efficient. They told me exactly how the process would work step by step. They never failed to answer any of the many emails I sent. I felt very fortunate to have had them working for me. I would not hesitate to recommend them.
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Locate missing Wills - Certainty

Certainty search can help locate missing Wills:

  • Register Will Search - Search for a registered Will: £33.33 +VAT
  • Combined Will Search - Performs the above search and searches nationally for an unregistered Will: £90.00 +VAT
  • Protect Will Search - Performs the above searches plus a Section 27 Notice: £199.00 +VAT

For more information about a Certainty search visit their website: Searching for a Will

If you cannot locate a Will for someone who has died or believe that a later Will may exist then we recommend using the Certainty service.

This search first checks the National Will Register then performs a REACH search which contacts solicitors closest to the deceased last known addresses and places they may have made their Will.

Finally the search places a Missing Will Notification on the Certainty Missing Will Register.

If the Will is found, the solicitor who holds details on the deceased will contact you directly. At this point you would be required to produce a death certificate and proof of identity prior to discussing the existence of the Will.

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As an award-winning top 150 law firm, with over 450 staff based in offices across the country, you're never far from the advice you need.