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Preparing a Will: Things to Consider

A senior citizen signing a document.

Writing your last will and testament may not be something you think about in your younger years, but putting something in place as early as possible could go a long way to avoiding unnecessary turmoil should something terrible happen.

Thinking about your own death is unpleasant, sure. However, creating a will is the most important thing you can do to ensure that your family are cared for when you die. By not writing a will, the process will be much more time consuming, costly and painful for your family during an already difficult time.

Why you need a will

A will is a legally binding document which states what you want to happen to your estate and assets after you die. Age shouldn’t be a factor when deciding when to draw up a will. As soon as you own anything of significant value, or have someone else in your care it’s time to think about writing a will.

Getting married, having a child or buying a property are all reasons to write a will. However, if you live with a partner and are not legally married, it’s also a good idea to set something up. If you die and you’ve not stated who gets your inheritance, legally, inheritance isn’t handed down to unmarried partners.

Additionally, if you set up a business you’ll need a will.

Who to include in your will

Who you include in your will is completely at your discretion. Immediate family, friends, charities and organisations are all common benefactors of wills. Drawing up a will ensures that the people you love will benefit from your wealth. Making donations to charities is a way of passing down wealth whilst also avoiding tax.

You will also need to choose who the executor of your will is. This person will be in charge of ensuring that your wishes are carried out. It is often a spouse, but could be anyone that you trust.

How to write a will

Writing a will doesn’t have to be a complicated process. As long as the document states who you want to leave your estate to, is signed and dated by you in the presence of two witnesses (not benefactors of the will or any relation to them), and signed and dated by these witnesses, then the will is technically a legally binding document. However, it’s not always this simple and you should seek legal advice if unsure. There could be terrible complications down the line if your will is contested. Precious Igbokwe, a solicitor at Slater and Gordon advises against handwriting a will.

“Unless it’s an emergency (e.g on your deathbed or a soldier at war) holographic wills should be avoided. Creating your own will – handwritten or not – can make things complicated”.

Although thinking about writing a will isn’t a pleasant thought, it’s necessary to look after your family after you die. For more information on writing a will visit

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