A will sets out how your estate (your assets) should be distributed, and names an executor(s) to take care of this task. A will is only valid if your signature has been witnessed by 2 adults who are not beneficiaries of the will in anyway. These witnesses need to be with you sign and date the will.
A do-it-yourself will is perfectly acceptable and can be even handwritten or typed on ordinary paper provided it is signed and witnessed. The content of the document is the important bit, not the appearance. However, a word of warning; wills are legal documents and need to be carefully drafted. Any vague or unclear wording can make it difficult to carrying out the actions in line with your wishes. For example, “I leave my estate to be divided among my family’ may sound perfectly adequate, but it is very vague and can lead to all kinds of misunderstandings. Does family mean your wife and children, or all your sisters and brothers; Does it includes cousins, does it not include step children etc..?
To avoid confusion you should write the full name of each beneficiary and direct how you wish your assets to be shared among them. It’s also a good idea to state who should inherit the particular share if the beneficiary should pre-decease you (before you get a chance to update the will.
Here’s an example “my brother Alfred Harry White or his children Paul and Geoffrey White should Alfred predecease me”
When apportioning your estate to your beneficiaries, you can either state a lump sum or a percentage of your estate. The final beneficiary will receive what is left after others have received their share of the estate.
In addition to identifying your executor and the beneficiaries of your estate, you might want to include, or attach instructions, of your funeral plans and body or organ donation in your will.
It is best practice to have a sentence in the will revoking any previous will you have made. This is used even if you have never made a will before as indicates that this is definitely your last will and testament.
Who’s in charge when I die
Your next of kin and your executor(s) are in charge when you die. If you have no will or no close relatives there can sometimes be complications.
Should I make a will
By making a Will you will ensure that your assets, no matter how small, are distributed in line with your wishes.
Making a Will
A will sets out how your estate (your assets) should be distributed, and names an executor(s) to take care of this task. A will is only valid if your signature has been witnessed by 2 adults who are not beneficiaries of the will in anyway.