is a tool to help you write your Will, not professional legal advice.

The information quoted from is used courtesy of the "Re-Use of Public Sector Information" directive. All said information is subject to the disclaimer and is provided on an "AS IS" and "AS AVAILABLE" basis.

  1. Making a will -
  2. What happens to a deceased person's money and possessions? -
  3. Dealing with a deceased person’s money and property -

A will is a written document that sets out what you would like to happen to your possessions after you die. [1]

It should include: [1]

  • Your name and address.
  • A statement that says you revoke or disown all earlier wills or codicils.
  • The appointment of one or more executors, or people who will carry out your wishes in your will after you die, along with their names and addresses.
  • A residuary clause - a section in your will that sets out how property not specifically dealt with in the will should be distributed.
  • An attestation clause - dated and signed by you and your witnesses.

The documents you write using our easy to use form will include all of the above along with any specific gifts and wishes you want to convey.

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A Will of course might need to be changed as your life progresses and as your circumstances change. It is important that your Will is updated to reflect any changes you wish to make.

Reasons to change your Will could include:

  • marriage, remarriage , divorce or separation
  • cohabiting or entering into a civil partnership
  • the birth of child or death in your family
  • change in your financial circumstances

In order to make a valid will, you must have, in the eyes of the law, the mental capacity to do so. This means you must understand and be able to decide what you are doing. If you have a medical condition that could affect your ability to understand and make decisions about what you should put in your will, you should ask your doctor or specialist to certify that you are capable of making a will. [1]

For example, if you have a history of mental illness, or if you are in the early stages of a condition that can affect your ability to think and understand (like dementia for instance), you should ask your doctor or specialist to certify that you are currently mentally capable of making a will. [1]

If you marry or enter into a civil partnership, your will is revoked, unless your will was made with the marriage or civil partnership clearly in mind. [1]

If you have left a will, and your spouse or civil partner has never renounced or given up their rights to your estate, then they are entitled to a legal right share of your estate. This legal right share is: [2]

  • One-half of your estate if you do not have children
  • One-third of your estate if you do have children

Children do not have any absolute right to inherit any of their parent's estate if the parent has made a will. Children born inside or outside marriage and adopted children all have the same rights and there are no age restrictions. However, a child can apply to court if they feel that they have not been provided for. [2]

The person who deals with the estate is called the deceased person's 'executor'. [3]

[Executors] must: [3]
  • Gather together and protect all the deceased's assets such as money, shares and property and find out their combined value
  • Call in any outstanding funds due (money owing to the deceased)
  • Pay any debts or taxes owed
  • Pay the funeral expenses
  • Make sure that the spouse (or civil partner) and children know about their legal right share
  • Make sure the entitled beneficiaries or next of kin get what they are entitled to, and that ownership of property is passed on correctly.
How many Executors should I appoint?
  • You must appoint at least 1 executor.
  • Appointing additional executors allows the executors to share duties and responsibilities.
  • Having additional executors also safeguards against one or more executors being unable to fulfill their duties (e.g. due to injury/death).
  • Practically speaking it is recommended you limit your appointments to 4 maximum. This is because the executors must act jointly (e.g. some forms must be signed by all executors, etc.) which can slow down the administration of the estate.

A residuary clause, is a section in your will that sets out how property not specifically dealt with in the will should be distributed. You may leave a part of your estate to someone, but that gift (sometimes called a bequest) could later found to be invalid. When this happens, that part of your estate becomes part of the residue of your estate, along with other things that are not specifically mentioned in the will. [1]

  • The Residuary Clause deals with the remainder of your estate after all specific gifts have been made and all claims of the estate are satisfied.
  • The Residuary Clause handles gifts that are void due to the death of the beneficiary.
  • The Residuary Clause handles property that may have been overlooked or not otherwise disposed of in the Will.
  • The Residuary Clause also covers property that is acquired after the Will was written, and which was not specifically mentioned within the Will.

If you have a spouse or civil partner and they have never renounced or given up their rights to your estate, then they are entitled to a legal right share of your estate. For more information, see here.

If you have property in other countries, you should make a will in each of those countries due to possible differences in succession law. [1]

If you have a joint bank account with your spouse, civil partner or child, usually the surviving account holder will be fully entitled to the money in the account when you die. [1]

You have to sign your will in the presence of 2 witnesses. They have to sign the will to attest (witness) that you have signed the will. If you are unable to sign your will because you cannot write, you can make a mark that should be witnessed like a signature. [1]

Gifts left to a witness or their spouse or civil partner are not valid. [1] i.e. Your witnesses cannot benefit from your Will.