There are several companies that offer templates for wills that you can purchase for just a few pounds. These are created by solicitors and are easily adapted to provide legally water-tight wills for your own situation. I think the best of these companies is Lawman, because they provide a very wide range of ready made wills for lots of different situations.
Net Lawman offer about a dozen standard wills starting from just £10. You can view the full list and download the most appropriate one from their website our browse the list on our Templates page. Net Lawman provide information about each type of will, so you can find out exactly what situation each one is intended to address.
All Lawman documents are produced by UK legal professionals. They pride themselves in keeping legal jargon to a minimum and using plain and clear English whenever possible. It is not necessary to have a huge document full of legal-speak. Despite the complicated laws relating to wills, it is possible to keep things a lot simper than some solicitors would have you believe. There are times when it is necessary to use specific legal wording and text, in the interests of absolute clarity and certainty, but at all other times the language will be as clear as possible.
Once you have a Net Lawman will it is perfectly possible to update and re-write it, provided you follow the guidance notes provided with each document. Despite the large list of wills, it is perfectly possible to use any one of them and adapt it simply for your purposes. Just choose the one that is the nearest fit for you.
These wills are meant for fairly straightforward situations that will be perfectly fine for most people. If you are worth several million pounds, then it is recommended that you see a solicitor and get a bespoke will made specifically for you.
Each will package provides copious guidance notes to help you complete the document and covers a range of points, including your own details, details of executors and trustees, any specified gifts, funeral wishes and provision for appropriate signatures.
Making a will really does not have to be a chore. Nor does it need to be expensive or take up much of your time. Given the many advantages of having a valid will in place, there really is no reason not to take this simple precaution. Despite this fact, about 70 percent of us die without having a proper will in place, often leaving arguments and uncertainty among grieving relatives.
There are many good reasons for making your wishes clear through a simple will. Not least of these is that you decide how your assets are distributed among relatives and friends. There are laws that govern these things in the absence of a will, so that is what will dictate who gets what if you do not spell it out yourself. This point is particularly relevant if you are not married or in a civil partnership. This may be a common issue for people in same sex relationships, but it applies to anyone. Your partner will not automatically inherit from you, so if you want them to inherit it needs to be included in a will. Failure to put a will in place can lead to serious financial hardship and distress for the surviving partner.
If you have children, there is clearly a need to specify plans for the children in the event that one or both parents should die. Another very practical reason is that it may be possible to reduce how much inheritance tax is paid by taking certain steps in the will. Another area where people frequently run into problems is where circumstances change after a will is made. Failure to update a will, or create a new one, can lead to problems in situations where, for example, you have separated from one partner and one of both of you are now in other relationships.
There is no requirement that your will has to be created or even witnessed by a solicitor and you can make a perfectly legal and effective will on your own. However, it is easy to miss things or not be aware of the basic things that are essential to make the will valid. An error or omission in a will can lead to disputes and costly wrangles following your death, so there are certain basic factors that must be considered when creating any will.
Having said that, you can still ensure you address all the above concerns without actually paying a solicitor for costly advice. Provided your will is relatively straightforward, there are standard templates you can use to address most situations, which can then just be tailored to your precise circumstances.
The main things that any will should cover include the following:
There are certain things that must be in place in order for a will to be valid and to be legally sound. The main requirements are as follows:
When the will is signed and witnesses as above it is then valid. A date is not essential, but it is sensible to add the date on which it is signed too.
Your executors are very important as they are the people who will be responsible for ensuring that your wishes are carried out. Their role will be to gather the assets of the estate, settle any outstanding debts, including funeral costs and any other related expenses. They then need to make the appropriate payments to beneficiaries and deal with any transfer of property.
In general it is a good idea to have more than one executor. Two is most common, but it can be more. The usual people chosen are of course relatives or close friends, but can also be solicitors, accountants or even banks. In the absence of anyone else who can act as executor, the duty will fall to the Public Trustee or Official Solicitor in England and Wales.
It is a responsible job so you should choose people who are up to the amount of work involved, and able to deal with the responsibility and organisation required. It is sensible to check with anyone you are thinking of appointing to ensure they are happy to do it.