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Making a Will

View profile for Tom Couch
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The making of a Will is a vital step for everyone. Having a Will in place protects your assets after you die and ensures they are distributed in the way you require. Not having a Will in place, that reflects your requirements, will put your assets at risk and can lead to problems for your family and loved ones.


Word or PhraseMeaning
 TestatorYou, the person making the Will.
 EstateAll of your assets (the property that you own or have a right to), as well as any debts or liabilities  you have (for example, credit card debt or a mortgage).
 ExecutorsThese are the people who you will nominate in your Will to administer your estate when you die.
 BeneficiaryThis is a person who stands to benefit from your Will.
 Residuary estate or residueThis is the amount of your estate left after any gifts have been made, after any debts have been settled, and after any tax has been paid.
 Intestate or intestacyShould you die without a valid Will in place then intestacy law (a set of prescriptive rules) will determine who gets what from your estate.








Process of Making a Will

If you are instructing a solicitor or professional Will writer to prepare your Will then, broadly speaking, the process can be divided into three categories:

  1. Taking instructions;
  2. Drafting the Will; and
  3. Signing the Will.

1) Taking Instructions

A solicitor or professional Will writer will meet with you at their office or in your home to understand your estate so that they can advise on the appropriate form of your Will.

The solicitor or professional Will writer will also confirm at this meeting that there are no circumstances which would prevent your Will from being completely valid. For example, making sure that you fully understand what you are doing and what effect your Will has on your estate.

2) Drafting the Will

Once the solicitor or professional Will writer has advised you on the options and taken your instructions fully, they can prepare a draft Will which you can review.

3) Signing the Will

Once you are happy with the Will that has been drafted, a final signing version is prepared and a further meeting will be arranged so that you can sign your Will. To be legally valid, you will sign your Will in the presence of two independent witnesses who will also sign (as witnesses).

Reviewing and Updating your Will

While a solicitor or professional Will writer will always try to draft Wills that are as ‘future-proof’ as possible, it is still recommended that you should have your Will reviewed at least once every five years in order to ensure that it still accurately reflects your wishes.

In particular, there are several lifetime events that trigger the need for a change in your Will. Some key events to consider are as follows:

  • The birth of children or grandchildren;
  • Marriage or divorce;
  • Changes in your financial position;
  • Changes in property ownership, or the purchase of a property; and
  • Whether someone named in your Will has passed away.

Do I Need a Will?

There are many benefits to making a Will, but perhaps the most important reason is that a Will can give you control over who your estate passes to, and who your estate is administered by (Executors) when you die. In the absence of a Will, you will be deemed to have died intestate, and so the law will decide who gets what from your estate.

For more information or if you wish to make an appointment to start making your Will, contact our Wills & Inheritance Protection team today on 0800 413 463 or email

Author - Tom Couch, Solicitor,