Let’s face it, we are all going to die at some point. We don’t know exactly when this will be so we need to be prepared, yet so many of us put it off thinking it can wait. This series of points has been designed to give some ‘need to know’ information on will writing and to counter some common misconceptions.

  1. The advice a Will Writer provides should only be relied on at the time it is given. Wills should be reviewed every 2-5 years to take into account whether you have had significant changes to your personal or family circumstances.
  2. Your will becomes a legally valid document once it has been correctly signed and witnessed.
  3. Your last will and testament belongs to you. If it is stored by a will writer they cannot unlawfully withhold the document from you.
  4. A “lifetime updates” package cannot be enforceable if the organisation who sold it to you ceases trading.
  5. Checks should be made as to the validity of the Will writer prior to entering into a contract. Check that they are members of a regulatory organisation such as The Society of Will Writers or the Institute of Professional Will Writers. Also check whether they are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
  6. If you enter into a contract in your own home or place of work, according to the Consumer Contract Regulations you have a 14 day cooling off period.
  7. Marriage revokes a Will. (S.18 Administration of Justice Act 1982)
  8. The Will as a document deals with so much more than simply bequeathing a gift. They incorporate funeral wishes, whom you appoint to administer to your estate, specific gifts, the protection of vulnerable beneficiaries, guardianship over minor children and more. We advise against the the creation of a DIY Will.
  9. When you have a new Will written, it will contain a clause called a revocation clause. This clause revokes former Wills and makes your Will your ‘Last Will and testament’.
  10. Wills are still valid even if the Will writer ceases trading or disappears.
  11. You do not have to write a new Will if you move home. Instead you may wish to place a letter with your Will explaining this.
  12. If you would like to make a small change to a Will (changing a beneficiary) you can make provision for this by writing a Codicil. This should be stored with but not attached to your Will. It must be completed with the same formalities as a Will would be and you should contact a Will Writer about this.
  13. Your Will is a bound document and should never be unbound.
  14. A copy of your Will or an unbound version will not be admissible at probate. If there are any complications it can cost time and money to correct: so treat your Will with care.
  15. Whether or not you have a Will, you may still need to apply to the court for probate. There are professional organisations like The SWW Trust Corporation who are able to assist with this. They set out at the outset what they advise and how much it will cost.

If you have identified the need for a Will or think it would be wise to write one we urge you to appoint a professional to help. Mistakes can be costly to rectify. If you would like an SWW member in your area visit https://www.willwriters.com/members/

Members of the SWW are all professionals who sign up to adhere to our Code of Practice. They are required to provide us with proof of their professional indemnity insurance and train themselves on an annual basis.

Want peace of mind? Write a Will.

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