Next steps to writing a Will
Many people believe that writing a Will is complicated, but in fact it’s relatively straight forward. However, when writing or updating your Will you should always seek professional advice. Will-writing professionals will take you through the process and make it as easy as possible, but here are a few important things you should consider before you see your adviser:
1. What is the value of your estate?
One of the most important things that you will have to work out before writing a Will is the value of your estate. This means calculating the current value of everything that you own, including your property, car, all your personal possessions and your money, minus all your debts, which include any mortgages, loans, overdrafts, any credit or extended purchase agreements.
For more help in calculating the value of your estate you can use our estate calculator.
2. Have you considered your digital assets?
Today, people have increasing amounts of digital assets stored either on home computers and laptops or online. These range from email and Facebook accounts, passwords for online accounts, to digital music and photo collections.
Like other assets, you can pass on your digital assets to family or friends in when writing a Will. However, recent research shows that the majority of people have not considered passing on this information in the event of their death. Take a look at our digital asset checklist to help you consider what digital assets you own and who you would like to pass them onto.
3. How do you want your estate to be distributed?
Your Will is your chance to take care of everything that’s important to you, so you need to consider how you want your estate to be distributed. Gifts can be anything you own and can take the form of specific items, cash amounts, or a percentage of your estate. Your family and friends should always come first. Make a list of their full names and addresses for your professional adviser.
4. Who has made a difference to your life?
Has a charity helped you or somebody you love? Which causes are important to you? Which appeals have really moved you? If you know them, make a note of their official charity name, address and registered charity number to give to your professional adviser when writing your Will. We can provide you with these details for our member charities, or you can find details for all registered charities in the UK and Wales on the Charity Commission website. Details for charities in Scotland can be found on the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.
5. Who do you wish to be Executors and Guardians?
Write down the full names and addresses of those you would like to be Executors of your Will and Guardians for your children (if appropriate)
6. How do you want to store your will?
Once your Will is written, most professional advisers will offer to store it for you so that the Will is not lost. It may also be worth considering storing your Will with the Her Majesty’s Court Service. After writing a Will, you can also register it with one of a number of commercial organisations that operate Will registration schemes.