Using solicitors for making a will


If you need help with making a will, solicitors can assist. Will-making can be complex, depending on the assets of your estate and your wishes for disposing of them. As a result, will-making is a task for which it is usually advisable to use solicitors. 

Writing your will

Will-making is subject to a number of legal rules largely laid down in the Wills Act 1837, which provides formalities that must be adhered to in order for the will to have legal effect, for example, the requirement for witnesses. If the rules are not followed and your will is declared invalid, then your assets may be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy rather than in accordance with your wishes.

When attending your solicitor’s offices in order to make a will, it will save time if you:

  • Prepare a list of your assets in advance
  • Know how you wish to distribute your assets on death
  • Choose a guardian to look after any children under 18 years of age
  • Choose who is going to organise your estate and look after your wishes after your death (the ‘executor’)

Preparing for the future

Your solicitor will ask you to name in the will someone that will deal with the distribution of assets following your death. It is always preferable to name two or more people, in case any of them die before you.

You should always have a will if you have children under eighteen as you must make provision for who should care for them in the event of your death.

You may wish to consider whether your chosen beneficiaries will be required to pay inheritance tax. If they are, there may be ways you can plan to make lifetime gifts, or hold your property in different ways, for example using trusts, so that it is not subject to tax. For more general information on inheritance tax planning, visit our IHT page.

If you wish to do this you must consider advice from a solicitor. Will-making can be complicated if you have high value assets or assets in numerous forms or locations and if you want to distribute them to different people.

Assets overseas are subject to the jurisdiction of that particular country, and may require a separate will. If you are in doubt you should take advice from your solicitor. Will-making that is done incorrectly can cause more problems for your intended beneficiaries later.

An alternative option is a professional will writer, who is not a qualified solicitor. They will meet with you in person and will deliver the will once it is finished. In contrast to a solicitor, they will neither be able to store the will nor to provide inheritance tax advice. For more information, visit our page on will writers.

Making a will is an easy and inexpensive process, but can have complex consequences if prepared by an unqualified legal professional. If you would like a will making expert to prepare your will, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local specialist. Please call us on 0808 129 5761 or fill out the web-form above and we will call you back.

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