Making a will - all your questions answered

Wills are essential to ensure that your possessions are left to the right people when you die. If you have not made a will, it is the general law that decides who receives any money and property. This can lead to unwanted outcomes and is subject to change.

It’s very tempting to put off writing a will. Many find it a difficult topic to discuss and this can be for a combination of reasons such as being fearful, a lack of understanding of the process or simply struggling to know where to start.

We asked our experts to offer a brief summary of the will writing process.

What is a will?

Simply put a will is a legal document that communicates a person's final wishes concerning who they wish to receive their possessions after their death.

Three commonly asked questions about the process:

What is probate? - The entire process of administering a deceased person's estate. This includes dealing with their money, assets and possessions.
What is an executor of a will? - The person who is appointed by a will to deal with a deceased person's estate including realising assets and making distributions in accordance with the will. They only have the power to act after your death and you choose who this is when writing your will.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPAs)? - A document that allows a person to nominate someone else to be responsible for their financial and health matters whilst they are alive. LPAs can be extremely helpful in cases where a person has lost the mental ability to deal with their affairs themselves.

It is possible for the same person to be both an executor and an attorney but this varies for each individual.

How to write a will?

1. Value your estate - This is good to do regularly to get an idea of both your assets (e.g. savings accounts, car, insurance, jewellery) and debts (, loans).
2. Decide how you want to divide your estate - Decide which friends and family members you would like to benefit under your will.
3. Choose your executor and attorney - These are both a big responsibility and can take time so it is important to choose carefully.
4. Book your appointment and prepare your documents - These documents should include: Birth certificates, marriage/divorce certificates, deeds to property, mortgage information, insurance policy information, list of bank accounts, investment portfolio and funeral plans.
5. Write your will - It is advisable to instruct a lawyer (solicitor or chartered legal executive) to write your will. They should be licensed with a relevant professional body such as The Law Society. It is possible to write your own will however we would still recommend seeking professional advice first. It is often a confusing process and it is important to get it right.
6. Sign your will - This must be in the presence of independent witnesses.
7. Store your will - This could be with a solicitor, bank or at home.

How much does it cost to write a will?
On average a will can cost between £100 and £750. The price varies depending upon the complexity of your estate and whether you choose to write the will yourself or use legal advice.

Let our experts help
We are passionate about ensuring that everyone has the chance to communicate their final wishes. We work with clients to assist in writing their will and any other future planning for property and financial affairs they have for both themselves and their families.

For more information about our will writing service or any aspects of probate and LPAs, see our dedicated web pages.

Contact us to book an appointment when you’re ready. You’re in safe hands with the Poole Townsend team.

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