Make a will, learn how much it costs, and where to keep it.

What is the process of writing a will?

As long as the will is signed by you and witnessed as required by law, it can be written on any piece of paper.

However, a will that is found to be invalid or to include contradictory directions may be challenged in court. This can generate strife within your family and put them through the strain and expense of defending you in court.

We explain how to make a legally-binding will, and how much you may anticipate to pay, in this article.

You have the option of either writing your own will or hiring a professional to assist you. It all depends on how complicated your situation is and how much help you’ll require. We’ll go over the pros and cons of drafting your own will, working with a lawyer, or using a will-writing service below.

Does my will require a witness?

You and two witnesses must sign the original will, and it must be error-free.

Witnesses must be present when you sign the will. Your will could be declared invalid if one of them is not present when you sign it.

Two witnesses over the age of 18 are required in England and Wales, while only one witness over the age of 16 is needed in Scotland.

Although witnesses can serve as executors, they are not entitled to receive money or property as beneficiaries. Everything in your will could be thrown out if you include a provision for the presence of a witness.

Because of current legislation, your will could be seen by video conference even if your witnesses cannot attend in person, such as if you are self-isolating. However, video-witnessing has its drawbacks, so we still recommend getting your will witnessed the old-fashioned way whenever you can.

Selecting an Executor: A Guide

Executors are those who carry out your final instructions after your death.

More than one executor should be designated as a best practise (or one executor and a substitute). A friend, relative, or solicitor are all acceptable choices because they are people you know and trust.

Solicitors can charge hundreds or thousands of dollars, so unless your estate is exceptionally complicated, it’s advisable to go with a friend or family member. Probate services might be commissioned by your executor if they finally need assistance.

Executors can be beneficiaries of your estate, unless they are also witnesses.

Do executors and witnesses have any options?

Witnesses Executors Beneficiaries
Is it possible for your children to receive a share of your estate? No Yes Yes
Can act as your executor? Yes Yes Yes
Is there anyone who can testify to your ferocity? Yes Yes No
No, you don’t have to sign the will in person. Yes No No
In England and Wales, you must be at least 18 years old to participate. Yes Yes No

In the event that I die without a will, what can I leave to those I care about?

Your will can address a wide range of issues, from determining who will receive your property to naming a guardian for your minor children.

It’s a good idea to make a list of all your possessions, including any sentimental objects you want to leave to loved ones, before making your will.

In addition to making plans for your children’s care, you should also think about leaving specific funeral instructions.

Incorporate a posthumous gift into the deal.

No matter how thorough your will is, a portion of your fortune is likely to go unclaimed by the people you leave behind.

Thus, a “residuary gift” should be included in the will, which specifies who will receive the remainder of the estate if the will is not otherwise specified.

When one of the heirs you designate passes away before you do, this clause comes in handy.

If there is no residuary bequest in the will, the remainder of the estate will be distributed according to the statutes of intestacy.

Maintain the legitimacy of your claims at all costs

Nothing should be changed or crossed out before you sign the document.

A codicil or a fresh will is required if you decide to make changes to your will in the future. Adding a codicil to your will is the same as signing and notarizing your original document (though not necessarily by the same people).

In the absence of your presence, it’s important to ensure that your directions are clear and understandable.

Do not leave any blank spots when putting the paper together and ensure that each page is numbered so that no one can tamper with your will.

We’ve put together a wills planner for you.

It’s a good idea to consider about your final desires for your estate before drafting a will, including who should receive your most valuable possessions.

With our wills planner tool, you may design your will, including your executors and beneficiaries.

The free planner can be downloaded by clicking the image below.

Is a will expensive?

When it comes to simple wills, the price ranges from about £80 to several hundred pounds, depending on where you go to get it done.

In most cases, if you and your spouse or partner want the identical wills, you can save money by writing them at the same time.

There is an increase in price for a more specialised will, such as one that incorporates trusts. You may anticipate to pay at least £500 to £600 for this service.

Take a look around for some suggestions. Ask yourself why one provider is significantly cheaper or more expensive than the others.

Do-it-yourself: drafting a will

Many people prefer to write their own wills rather to enlist the help of a lawyer.

Even if your scenario is simple, it’s possible to make a mistake that could render your will invalid or unclear, therefore it’s a good idea to get professional counsel if necessary. Alternatively, you can create the will yourself and have a lawyer examine it for a lower charge, which is generally the case.

Make sure your will is witnessed properly and includes all of your assets if you decide to write one yourself.

Having your will drafted by a lawyer

A lawyer may write the document for you and ensure that everything is in order.

Even though it’s the most expensive choice, it could save your family money in inheritance taxes and provide you some peace of mind.

When you work with a lawyer, you’ll be able to discuss exactly what you want the will to accomplish and how to avoid ambiguity.

The following situations necessitate the services of an attorney:

Inheritance tax is likely to be part of your estate’s costs.
Have a family member or acquaintance with specific requirements that you want to make sure is taken care of after your death? Do you have assets that may be subject to intricate restrictions, such as offshore property? If so, we can help.

As part of the service, a solicitor will normally keep your will safe and secure for you free of charge.

If there are flaws with the will, you or your dependents can seek compensation from a skilled and registered solicitor. Depending on where you live, you may or may not be subject to the oversight of the following organisations:

SRA for England and Wales and SLS for the Scottish Law Society
Northern Ireland – The Northern Ireland Law Society. –

Hire a lawyer and expect to pay a few hundred dollars to have your will drawn up. If you have a complicated financial situation, the cost will vary greatly.

Consider transferring assets into trust if your estate is particularly complicated. Legal fees are likely to be higher in these circumstances, but will trusts could dramatically reduce your estate’s inheritance tax liability.

Making use of a will writing service

Consider a will-writing service if you don’t want to hire a lawyer but still need some advice.

You’ll save money over hiring a lawyer and get more assistance than if you did it on your own. This is a good alternative if your situation is straightforward; a lawyer’s skills may be required in more complicated scenarios.

Some will-writers aren’t properly trained or supervised. Check to see if the person writing your will has been approved by the industry’s regulatory authority or by a licenced professional, such as a solicitor.

The executors of your will should not be free will-writing services, or companies. When it comes to administering your estate, you should expect to pay a significant amount of money in legal expenses.

Prices for will-writing services range from about £80 to several hundred pounds, depending on the intricacy of your estate and the company’s experience.

The will-writing service provided by a bank

Banks frequently provide will-writing services. Many of these services cost less than $100, if not nothing at all. However, you may end yourself paying a hefty sum in additional fees down the road.

Look for clauses that give the will-writing corporation the power to administer your estate and charge fees for doing so, as this is particularly significant.

In even the most straightforward estates, you could be paid a fee of up to 5% of the estate’s value to serve as executor. Even if the probate process is handled primarily by a third party or if the estate is very simple, these fees must be paid.

For those who want to appoint their own executors in the will writing service, it may be wise to go elsewhere.

What should I do about my will?

It’s time to determine where to keep your will after you’ve written it. Depending on your preferences, you have a number of choices. It doesn’t matter what you choose, it’s imperative that you keep it safe and secure. When the time comes, your executor(s) will need to know where it is, so make a note of its location now.

If you go with a lawyer, wills storage firm, or your bank, make sure to find out if there are any fees associated with making modifications to your will or serving as your executor after your death.

The help of a lawyer

If you use a solicitor to write your will, they’ll often preserve it for you for free. Will writers commonly charge a one-time or recurring fee. Will writers

It’s possible that a solicitor will hold your will even if it wasn’t written by one. This may be a one-time charge at the time of deposit or a yearly charge while it is in their possession.

With the help of your financial institution

For a little fee, banks will store your will in their vaults.

Your will, on the other hand, should never be kept in a bank safe.

There may be a paradoxical situation where the executor cannot go to the safe deposit box because they lack probate but also cannot gain entry to the safe deposit box because the will is there.

With the help of a will storage service

Similar to lawyers, wills storage firms handle documents in the same way. Most services charge on a monthly or yearly basis, with additional charges if your wishes change.

When you’re at home,

In order to save money on a storage facility, you can store your will in your own house.

Keeping your will in a secure location is the best way to ensure that it won’t be lost or damaged.

Selecting this route means that you’ll need to make sure that your executors are aware of the location of your valuables and that they have access to them.