The hardest part of preparing a Will is facing up to your own mortality and deciding what you would like to happen after your death.
There are many important matters to consider when making a Will but you will need choose who to appoint as your Executors and Beneficiaries.
The Executor is the person that carries out the instructions contained in your Will and the Beneficiaries receive your money or other assets.
You should also consider your Inheritance Tax position as this could significantly reduce the amount passing to your Beneficiaries.
Appointment or Will Questionnaire
The next stage is to decide whether you wish to meet your Solicitor to discuss matters or if you would prefer to complete a questionnaire.
Meeting your Solicitor is usually the best course of action as it allows you to discuss any concerns you may have about your Will. The conversation will also allow your Solicitor to identify areas that you need to consider when making your Will, for example if you have young children. However, the questionnaire is sufficiently detailed to allow your Solicitor to identify any matters you may need to consider.
Draft Will Preparation
Once you have decided what you would like to put into your Will, your Solicitor will begin to prepare a draft for your approval. This involves recording your instructions in writing and using legal terminology to ensure your instructions are clear (from a legal point of view).
Draft Will Approval
The draft Will is sent to you for your approval along with a ‘plain English’ version. This allows you the opportunity to read your Will without having to decipher complex legal terminology.
The main aim of the draft is to ensure that all your wishes have been accurately recorded and the names and addressed contained in the will are spelt correctly. This is your opportunity to make changes to your will before it is signed.
Signing of Engrossed Will
Once you are happy with your draft Will, you shall need to sign an ‘engrossed copy’ to make it legally valid. An engrossed copy is the final version of your Will.
Your Solicitor will make an appointment for you to sign the will at the office and shall guide you through the signing process. Alternatively, your will can be sent to you for signing at home.
Although the signing of a Will only involves three signatures (you and two witnesses), there is a very strict signing process. If the process is not followed correctly, your Will shall not be legally valid and this is one of the most common causes for Wills not taking effect.