Making a will enables you to choose what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death, ensuring your wishes are known and your loved ones receive the protection they deserve.

It is particularly important if you are cohabitating or have children from previous relationships to ensure your loved ones inherit according to your wishes. It can help you consider and address and implications for Inheritance Tax for your loved ones.

Your will should include:

You may also like to include a charity in your will to support a cause close to your heart and potentially reduce the inheritance tax for your loved ones.

Choosing the executor of your will

Carefully consider who you appoint for this role, ensuring it is someone who will efficiently carry out all your wishes. Appointing a friend of family member is not always be the best option. If your estate is complex or tensions could arise amongst your loved ones, we’d strongly recommend an impartial, professional executor to handle your estate appropriately and ensure those you care about most are protected from any unnecessary delays or distress.

When to seek legal advice

Although you can write your will yourself, we’d recommend our expert advice to ensure that it is legally valid, includes all your assets, accurately reflects your wishes and minimises inheritance taxes for your loved ones.

It is particularly important if you, for example:

Making your will legal

For your will to be legally valid, you must:

You cannot leave your witnesses (or their married partners) anything in your will.

Keep your will safe

It goes without saying that you’ll need to store your will in a safe place. You can store it at home, or you may prefer the added security and privacy of:

Remember to let your ‘executor’ know where they can find your will, should they need it. We’d also recommend including a separate document for your executor outlining which banks or other financial companies they’ll need to contact. You should also include an up-to-date list of any debts you have (e.g. mortgages, loans) and who they are with (e.g. a lender or a private individual such as a family member or friend). This will enable your executor to act quickly and ensure nothing is missing from your estate for your beneficiaries.

Keep your will up-to-date

It’s vitally important to review and update your will regularly, especially if your living arrangements or family circumstances change e.g.:

Without an up-to-date will in place outlining your wishes, your loved ones may not be entitled to inherit any of your estate, which could leave them financially vulnerable and create tensions amongst those you care about most.

There are two ways to change your will:

  1. minor changes – you can make an official alteration to your existing will. This is known as a ‘codicil’ and must be signed and witnessed. There is no limit to the number of codicils you add to your will. It is important to document any significant loans/gifts you make so that no conflict arises amongst your loved ones on how your estate should be distributed.
  2. major changes – you should make a new will which explains it revokes all previous wills and codicils. Your previous will should be destroyed.

Case study one – the importance of an up-to-date will:

We have recently supported a widow. Her husband had made a will but hadn’t updated it with a codicil to address money he had borrowed from his son from a previous relationship. His loved ones are in conflict about how this should be handled as part of his estate.

How Hallidays can help

Although you can write your will yourself, we’d recommend the expert advice of our Wealth Management Team to ensure that it is legally valid, accurately reflects your wishes and fully addresses any complexities within your estate or family structure. We’ll work with you sensitively and support you to minimises inheritance taxes for your loved ones.

Contact our friendly team on 0161 476 8276 or email [email protected] to learn more about how we can support you with all areas of financial planning, including estate planning and wills.

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