Top ten tips for writing a Will

1 November 2018

Writing a Will provides peace of mind, knowing that the people and causes you have spent your life caring about will be included and looked after.

As David Stern, one of our supporters, says, it’s a “final opportunity to carry on the way you lived.”

When you write a Will, you decide what happens to your home, your money and your treasured belongings. Many people, after making sure their family and friends are looked after, decide to leave a gift to charity. Last year, an incredible £2.8bn was left in Wills to people’s favourite charitable causes.

When you decide to write or update your Will, our top ten tips will help make the process as smooth as possible:

  1. Find a professional to write your Will. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family for recommendations about who they have used.
  2. Think about all of your assets. This is everything that belongs to you. It includes property, pension, cash, ISAs, stocks and shares etc. You also need to think about any debts you may have as this will affect the value of your estate. Write all of this down and have it to hand for your meeting with your Will writing professional.
  3. Who do you want to benefit from your Will? This is any family, friends or charities. These are known as the beneficiaries.
  4. How do you want to split your assets? Do you want each beneficiary to receive a fixed amount, also known as a pecuniary gift? Do you have specific items such as jewellery, or pieces of art that you wish them to have? Do you want them to receive a percentage of your estate, also known as a residuary gift?
  5. Check if you have to pay Inheritance Tax (IHT). The current allowance for IHT is £325,000 per person (excluding residence relief where applicable). If you have an estate worth more than that, it is definitely worth taking professional financial and legal advice. But did you know that all gifts left to charity are IHT free? AND if you leave more than 10% of your estate to charity, you could receive a 10% reduction in your IHT bill.
  6. Appoint at least two executors for your Will. These are the people who will be responsible for administering your wishes. They can be beneficiaries of your Will.
  7. If you have children under the age of 18, you will need to appoint Guardians in your Will. You will also need to appoint Trustees who will manage the money. Ideally these should be different people, but they should get along so that the Guardians are not left out of pocket.
  8. Make sure your Will is signed and dated by witnesses. It is important to note that they cannot be beneficiaries of the Will.
  9. Review your Will regularly. Give yourself 5-10 minutes every two years to check that it still does what you want it to!
  10. Store your Will in a safe place and make sure that your family members and executors know where it is.

We’re very grateful to each and every one of our legacy supporters who decide to leave a gift to Norwood in their Will. As well as looking after your family, your decisions can support generations of families who rely on our life-changing services.

If you would like more information or are planning to leave a legacy to Norwood, please get in touch with Oshrit from our Gifts in Wills team: giftsinwills@norwood.org.uk.

For more information on writing a Will, please see the following links:

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/planning-what-to-leave-in-your-will

https://www.which.co.uk/money/wills-and-probate/passing-on-your-money/how-to-make-a-will-ann800u2rj1c

http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/for-the-public/common-legal-issues/making-a-will/