A will is the only way to make sure that all your savings, property and assets will go to the right people when you die. And yet approximately 54% of Brits don’t have one.

If you’re ready to write yours, but find solicitors’ fees daunting, you might be wondering if you can do it yourself. You can – but you’ll need to tread carefully if you want it to work the way it should. Here’s how to make a will at home.

 

Can you write your own will at home?

You don’t need a solicitor to make a valid will. You can draft one yourself, and as long as it’s signed and witnessed properly, it’s technically legal. It can also save you hundreds of pounds.

But (and it’s a big but) you do need to use the right wording.

Without using the words and phrases that are established to work, your DIY will could have all kinds of loopholes and blind spots. So, it’s best to use an online will service or a will writing template. They use tried-and-tested legal language to make sure your will is airtight.

Beyond’s online will service lets you make a legally binding will for just £90, with unlimited updates and support along the way. Find out more here.

 

When do you really need a solicitor?

Sometimes a DIY will isn’t the best option. For example, if:

  • Some of your estate is owned abroad
  • You have a complicated family situation and your will may be contested
  • You want to leave someone your business in your will
  • There are people aside from your immediate family who depend on you financially
  • You’d like to use your will to support someone who is disabled
  • Your wishes are quite complicated

If this sounds familiar, you can contact Beyond’s complex will team on 0800 054 9793 for a quote. If not, read on!

 

How to make a will at home

Whether you choose to use a do-it-yourself will writing kit or an online service, there are certain steps you’ll have to take. Here’s how to make your own will without a lawyer at home:

 

1) List everything you own

The first step when making a will at home: sit down and list all the things that will make up your estate. Think about:

  • Bank and building society accounts
  • Any property or land
  • Pensions and insurance schemes that will pay out after you die
  • Stocks and shares, investment trusts, premium bonds
  • Cars (or vans, or motorbikes)
  • Valuables, like jewellery and antiques
  • The contents of your home

Before any of the gifts in your will can be given out, your executor will need to pay your debts. So, it’s important to also list any:

  • Mortgages
  • Loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Credit card debt
  • Equity release schemes

 

2) Choose guardians for your kids and pets

If your children are under 18, the next step is to choose guardians to look after them if you and their other parent both die. Guardians act as your kids’ legal parents until they reach adulthood.

You can also choose guardians for your pets. A pet guardian will look after your pet for its whole life.

  • Think about who you trust to care for your children / pets the way you would
  • Name back-up guardians in case the people you’ve chosen don’t work out
  • Don’t forget to ask the guardians if they mind!

If you die without naming a guardian for your kids in a will, the court will assign someone.

 

3) Decide who will get what

People who are given something in a will are called beneficiaries. Now is the time to choose yours! You’ll need to:

  • List any specific gifts. These are possessions or exact sums of money you’d like people to have. For example, giving your sister your ruby necklace, or giving a charity £100. It’s best not to give away property as a specific gift when you’re doing a will yourself.
  • Split your residuary estate. Your residuary estate is what’s left over once all the specific gifts, debts and taxes have been paid. You can give as many people as you like a percentage.
  • Choose back-ups. Decide who will inherit if one of your beneficiaries dies before you do.

Be careful when you’re choosing specific gifts. They’re always given away first, so if you list too many, your residuary estate will have nothing in it!

Need a hand? Our online will service includes live support from our legal team. Just give us a ring or use our chat box to get advice on how to write a will at home: no need to visit an office.

 

4) Choose executors

The executors of your will are responsible for settling all your legal and financial affairs after you die. You can choose up to four. They’ll handle tax, pay debts, and make sure your will is followed.

Anyone over the age of 18 can be an executor. But it’s best to pick people who are patient, tactful, well-organised and good with complicated paperwork. You can find out more about choosing Beyond as an executor here.

 

5) Sign in front of witnesses

When you write your own will at home it’s easy to forget this part. Once you’ve finished your will and you’ve checked it thoroughly, you’ll need to sign it in front of two witnesses to make it valid.

There are rules on who can and can’t be a witness to a will. They can’t be beneficiaries, or related to or in a relationship with them, for example. You can find out more here.

 

6) Store the will safely

You can store your DIY will at home, with the Probate Service, or with a solicitor (usually for a small fee). It’s best not to store it with your bank.

If you’ve made your own will with Beyond, you can keep it in our secure underground storage facility for free. We’ll also automatically register your DIY will with the National Will Register, so that your executors will be able to find it easily when the time comes.

 

Ready to make your own will?

So, that’s how to make a will at home – ready to dive in? You can try out Beyond’s online will writing service here. Start for free, pay only when you print and sign.

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