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Everything you need to know before writing a will

Thinking about making your will but not sure where to start? Here's everything you need to know before writing a will.

Contents
  1. Why is it important to make a will?
  2. What happens if you die without a will?
  3. Do I need a solicitor to write a will?
  4. What information do I need to write a will?
  5. Should I leave funeral wishes in my will?

Why is it important to make a will?

If you’re a parent...

Writing a will is the best way to have a say over what happens when you die. This is incredibly important if you have children under 18, as it allows you to state who you want to be their legal guardian if anything happens to you. Without a will, the courts could be left to decide who looks after them.

If you’re a homeowner...

Writing a will also allows you to set out how you want to divide up your estate, including any property or accounts you own. You can make an inventory of your assets and choose exactly how much you want people to inherit, helping to prevent any family disputes when you’re gone.

What happens if you die without a will?

On average, it costs families around £9,700 when their loved one dies without a will. This is usually made up of assets they can’t find or don’t know exist. When you make a will with Farewill, you can make an inventory of your assets so your loved ones know exactly where to find everything.

If you die before making a will, any assets that can be found will be divided up following the rules of intestacy. These are a set of traditional laws that define exactly who gets what – but they may not follow exactly what you would want.

Do I need a solicitor to write a will?

Many people assume they need to see a solicitor to write a will. But if your requirements are fairly simple and straightforward, you could end up paying more than you need to.

Our online will writing service allows you to appoint guardians for your children, choose your executors, make an inventory of your assets and set out how you want to divide up your estate. It also gives you the option of leaving gifts, personal messages and funeral wishes for your loved ones. This service costs just £90 with Farewill, but could easily be over £150 if you use a solicitor.

You may need to make a will with a solicitor if you require specific advice on a complex situation – such as high-value business assets or inheritance tax planning. If you’re unsure exactly which option is right for you, give us a call on 020 8050 2686.

What information do I need to write a will?

Appointing legal guardians

If you have children under 18 or are a pet owner, you’ll be able to appoint legal guardians in your will. This allows you to decide who would take care of them if you weren’t around. If you were to die unexpectedly before writing a will, this decision would be left up to the courts.

Though it’s very unlikely that your guardians will ever be called upon, it’s still important to choose the right person (or people) for the job. Grandparents, aunties and uncles, and close friends are often popular choices, but you should discuss this with them first before including them in your will.

Read more about appointing legal guardians here.

Making an inventory of your estate

Millions of people in the UK put off writing their will because they're worried they'll need to track down paperwork for all their accounts, property and savings – but this isn't actually the case.

When you make a will with Farewill, you’ll be asked to create a basic inventory of your estate. For this, you’ll simply make a note of each of your assets – e.g. ‘Santander Current Account’. This is so your executors know where to look when they’re dealing with your estate. You won’t be asked to give details of account numbers or the value of each account, so this part of the process should only take a few minutes.

Find out more about how to share out your estate here.

Choosing your executors

Another thing you’ll want to think about before writing a will is who you want to choose as your executors. These are the people responsible for following the wishes set out in your will.

The first person most people think of is their partner, but this could be an unwelcome burden at a time that's already so difficult for them. Other common choices for executors are adult children, siblings, close friends and professional executor services.

The most important thing to consider when choosing executors for your will is whether they're confident dealing with the paperwork and finances involved.

Read more about choosing your executors here.

Should I leave funeral wishes in my will?

Our online will writing service lets you include funeral wishes in your will. This step is completely optional, but it can really help to prevent family disputes over your funeral when you're gone.

You can choose your final resting place, set out what kind of funeral you want, and you can even select songs for the ceremony. And while these wishes aren't legally binding like other parts of your will, they can really help your family know that they're making the right decisions when you're gone.

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