Making a Will: Your Complete Checklist

What to consider when making a Will

There are many things to consider when making a Will, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you’re not sure where to start.

But this is where making a Will checklist could help you. By breaking the process down into stages, it can help to make it feel less daunting.

In this guide, we’ve set out some of the key items you can check off your list when planning or writing a Will. These include:

To find out more, keep reading or get in touch with our knowledgeable advisors for advice that’s tailored to you.

1. Handling your estate

Your estate will likely be the first thing you consider when thinking about your Will. After all, the main point of most Wills is to set out who will receive what after you pass away.

You might choose to have certain assets valued – such as property, vehicles and jewellery. This will help you to work out the total value of your estate and may aid you in deciding who you will leave each possession to.

Debts are another important aspect to think about when it comes to your estate. Make a list of any outstanding debts you have, including mortgages, car finance, loans and credit cards. Your estate will likely be liable for your debts, so it’s important to set out exactly what needs to be paid off.

2. Assigning an executor

Your chosen executor will be the person responsible for distributing your estate and handling any remaining debts. This doesn’t mean that they’ll be held personally liable for any debt you leave behind, but they will have the responsibility of settling them through your estate.

It is therefore important to think carefully about who you want to appoint as your executor. Many people choose a partner or close relative. But whoever it is, they should be someone you trust completely.

We would also suggest speaking to your chosen executor before writing them into your Will. This will give you the peace of mind that they are willing and able to take on the duties that come with the role.

3. Appointing beneficiaries

Beneficiaries are the people who will benefit from the assets you leave behind in your Will. You will need to set out who you would like to inherit from your Will, as well as how you’d like your estate to be split between them.

It is important to be specific on these points as disputes can sometimes arise amongst family members if it is unclear who should inherit what from your estate. An experienced solicitor can help you to set out these terms in your Will in a way that leaves no room for confusion.

4. Writing a letter of wishes

If you have any other wishes for your estate or if you’d like to explain any of the decisions you’ve made, you could write a letter of wishes to go alongside your Will.

A letter of wishes is not legally binding and there is no set template for this document. So you’re free to include whatever information you think is relevant.

You could use your letter of wishes to issue your final communications to family and friends. Or it could set out any wishes you have for your funeral – including whether you’d prefer to be buried or cremated, the type of service you’d like and any songs you’d want to have played.

5. Sharing power of attorney

It’s a common misconception that family members will automatically be able to handle your affairs if and when you’re no longer able to. But in reality, the only way to ensure your loved ones can do this is to put a lasting power of attorney (LPA) in place.

When putting together your Will and deciding what you want to happen to your estate after you die, you may also want to think about making an LPA. This will allow you to appoint someone to make decisions for you if you lose mental capacity in later life – either through illness or injury.

There are two main types of LPA – they are:

  • Health and welfare – giving someone else the authority to make decisions about where you live, the medical care you receive and who you should have contact with
  • Property and financial affairs – allowing another person to make financial decisions on your behalf. This will cover things like investing money, selling or buying property

You can make one type of LPA or both. But whichever one you select, you should make sure the person you choose to act as attorney is someone you can trust to handle your affairs correctly.

How could a solicitor help me?

While the points we’ve provided in this guide will provide a good starting point for planning your Will, what you include will also depend on your own individual circumstances.

For example, if you have children, you’ll need to appoint guardians in your Will. Or if you have a business, you’ll need to consider who will take ownership of it after your death.

Speaking to an experienced Wills and probate solicitor is the best way to make sure your Will covers everything it needs to. Our solicitors have years of experience handling different types of Wills, and they can provide advice that is unique to you.

To find out more about the services we offer, get in touch with us on the number at the top of the screen or start your enquiry online.

Note: First4Lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances.


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