A Will is an important document that informs everyone what should happen to your money, possessions, property (also termed as your ‘estate’) after you die. 
It doesn’t need to be a complicated issue to make a Will and even if you only have a few items or a small amount of money, it will save your family a lot of unnecessary difficulties trying to sort everything out. 
 
The other main reasons that you should prepare a will are: 
 
If you don’t have a Will, all of your possessions will be shared out in a standard way which is defined by law - this may not necessarily be how you would like it. If you aren’t married but have a partner, they may end up with nothing. 
If your estate is worth more than £325,000 a Will can help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that may be payable on the value of any property or money that you leave. 
If you have children or other dependents that rely on you financially, then writing a Will can ensure that they receive exactly what you would like them to. 
 
Many people put off making a Will, thinking that it’s something they don’t need to worry about until later on in life. You can write a Will at whatever time of your life you want, but it is recommended that you don’t leave until too late as it may be that you reach a stage where mentally you aren’t perhaps as alert to do it. 
 
Knowing that has been sorted will also give you peace of mind for both you and your family. 

What should I include in my Will? 

The main points you should include in your Will are: 
 
Whom you want to benefit from your Will (your beneficiaries) 
Who you wish to look after any children under the age of 18 
Who you would like to sort out your estate and undertake your wishes after death (your executor) 
What you would like to happen to your estate if your beneficiaries die before you 
You can also include any funeral wishes 
 
There are a few options to get a Will written and the best solution depends on how complex your wishes are: 
 
A simple Will - costs around £150 - £250 
A complex Will - can cost between £150 - £300. It can be more complex if you have been divorced and/or have children 
A specialist Will - this may involve trusts or properties overseas, or if you want tax planning advice. You would probably expect to pay about £500 - £600 
You can also buy basic template Wills from stationery stores for as little as £10 

Ensure your Will is legally valid 

Your Will doesn’t have to be lengthy, written on special paper or use legal language. The document will be valid providing that: 
 
It states how your estate will be shared out when you die 
It was made when you were able to make your own decisions and that you weren’t put under any pressure about who you want to leave things to 
It is signed and dated by you in the presence of two independent adult witnesses, and then signed and dated by the two witnesses in your presence. The witnesses cannot be anyone who is due to inherit anything from you or their husband/wife or civil partner 

Next steps 

Get in touch with us today if you’d like advice on preparing a Will or for any tax queries you may have. Feel free to give us a call or drop us an email. We’ll be more than happy to help advise you, taking your individual circumstances into consideration. 
 
 
 
 
Written by 
 
Nicola J Sorrell - 
Effective Accounting 
 
Founder | Xero Champion | IR35 Expert 
Tagged as: Financial Planning
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