Who can make a Will?

Every adult can and should make a Will, as long as they are at least 18 years old.

You must be of sound mind – that is, you should understand the nature and value of your assets and liabilities, what you are giving away in your Will and to whom you are giving it.

If you suffer from an illness, or are taking medication which might impair your judgment, then a certificate from your G.P. would be a good idea to show you are mentally capable of making your Will.

We, or any solicitors specialising in this area of law, can draw this up for your G.P. to complete and sign.

Can I make my own Will from a form, or use a firm other than a solicitor?

There is currently no legal necessity to use a solicitor to have your Will prepared.

However, you should take care.

If a Will is not correctly worded, your assets may not pass as you intended; it could even result in a dispute which has to be settled, very expensively, through the Court.

A badly written Will can cause more problems than having no Will at all.

While there are plenty of companies and organisations – often with ulterior motives, such as selling you add-on policies – who will happily draw up what they call a ‘standard’ Will for you at a tempting cost, each person’s situation is generally more complex than they realise.

A poorly drafted Will which may not be suitable for your particular circumstances can be ambiguous or, worse still, result in a gift failing to have effect or even the whole Will being invalid.

Your Will is possibly the most important document you will ever have drawn up, and you must bear in mind that any problems with it may not come to light until after your death, when you will be unable to rectify the problem.

Our experience of homemade Wills is that, even if they are legal, they do not go far enough.

For example, what happens if someone named in your will does not survive you – what happens to the gift they would have enjoyed? Just because they are a lot younger than you is no guarantee they will be alive at your death, or they may die with you in a common accident.

Laymen often use terms such as ‘money’ or ‘cash’, which should be avoided at all costs.

Does ‘money’ include the balance in your bank account, your premium bonds, your ISA, or just what is in your wallet or purse?